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Trea Turner free agency predictions: Phillies, Dodgers among best landing spots for All-Star shortstop

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Trea Turner has been ranked anywhere from the top free agent available to the fifth-best free agent available, and the market for his services is rather fascinating. The last time a free-agent shortstop who had most recently played for the Dodgers signed with a new team — um, last offseason — Corey Seager chose the rebuilding Texas Rangers. 

That was a bit of a surprise. Not that the Rangers wanted Seager, but that Seager — who had only known teams competing for World Series titles every year — wanted to join a team that hadn’t been a serious playoff competitor in about half a decade and looked to be a few years and many, many millions of dollars away from getting back to that level. 

MORE: Ranking the top 89 MLB free agents for 2023

Will Turner pull a surprise like that? There’s no real consensus in the industry. Case in point: Last weekend, MLB dot com asked 50 of its reporters and analysts to make predictions on where the top free agents might wind up, and those folks predicted 10 different teams, listed in this order: the Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Cardinals, Giants, Red Sox, Mariners, Marlins and Yankees.

Last year, the same website did a breakdown of Seager’s potential destinations a in late November and the Rangers checked in at No. 8, with this perfectly worded opening: “The team that constantly keeps showing up in these rankings more out of rumor than logic.” So, on the Seager scale, congrats to Mariners fans on your new star infielder! 

That would actually make a lot more sense than Seager to the Rangers did last offseason. Imagine a 1-2 top-of-the-order combo of Trea Turner and Julio Rodriguez, in either order! Of course, when everyone saw the 10-year, $325 million contract Seager signed to play in Arlington, then it all made more sense. 

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Dodgers

All the focus nationally seems to be on Turner jumping ship, but the Dodgers still make a ton of sense. He’s would continue to be their shortstop, a role he’s familiar with and has thrived in. He’d continue to get his plate appearances right near the top of the lineup with former MVPs (and still in their prime stars) Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. He’d continue to be on a roster that will compete not just for a playoff spot, but for World Series titles for the life of his new contract, playing for a franchise that has both the infrastructure and financial might to prolong their run indefinitely. Sometimes, the grass isn’t actually greener.

Yeah, but … well, for starters, there’s this report, from MLB.com reporter Juan Toribio: “multiple sources told MLB.com that it’s more likely the two-time All-Star will be playing elsewhere next season.” And though Turner is obviously an outstanding player, he’s not the only option the Dodgers have. They have multiple options, actually, both in-house and via outside player acquisition, and most every option would be less expensive. 

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Cubs

This would be roughly the equivalent of Seager signing with the Rangers. It makes sense from the team’s side, and that’s often more important than fans and media types tend to think when trying to make free-agent predictions. It’s not just Seager, but remember Kris Bryant signing with the Rockies for an absurd amount of money? Bryant seemed like the perfect fit for a lot of contending clubs, but the Rockies came along with all that money they didn’t spend on Trevor Story or Nolan Arenado and convinced Bryant to play in Denver.

The Cubs envision themselves getting back to regular contention soon, but next year seems impossibly optimistic. Maybe 2024? Turner’s a bit older than Carlos Correa, who probably makes the most sense for the Cubs, but having Turner in his early 30s steering the ship back toward contention would be a huge step in the right direction for the Cubs. Nico Horner has been a fine shortstop on the north side, but he could easily slide over to second base to make room for Turner. 

Yeah, but … maybe Turner saw what Seager went through in 2022 (the Rangers finished 68-94 and lots of people got fired) and thinks better about joining a rebuild, no matter how optimistic the team might sound in its pitch. 

MORE: The 11 most intriguing MLB trade candidates this offseason

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Phillies

This makes so much sense, on so many levels. From the club’s perspective, adding Turner’s glove improves the defense. He takes over at shortstop, and rookie Bryson Stott moves to second base. Or, Stott moves to third base, Alec Bohm moves across the diamond to first and the Phillies part ways with Rhys Hoskins. That would be a bit complicated — Hoskins is a fan-favorite player — but he’s only under club control one more season and he’s, putting it nicely, under-average defensively as a first baseman. There are options to fill the opening at second base. And offensively, Turner immediately improves the top of the lineup. He’d be able to take the leadoff spot from Kyle Schwarber, who was admirable as a fill-in up top because the Phillies had no other options, but much better suited for a non-leadoff spot. His patience and power would be great in the 2-hole behind Turner.

Yeah, but … are the Phillies prepared to spend the type of cash necessary to land Turner? They have middle-infield needs, but there are other options available. Xander Bogaerts makes a lot of sense in Philadelphia, especially considering his connection with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, his former Boston boss. 

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Cardinals

An infield with Turner, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt would look pretty solid, eh? Plugging Turner in at shortstop would help end the rotating door at the leadoff spot — Tommy Edman, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar and Dylan Carlson all started at least 20 games in the top spot in the order — and his presence at shortstop would mean Edman and Donovan would get plate appearances at both second base and the corner outfield spot. 

Yeah, but … it’s really hard to see the Cardinals winning a bidding war for one of the top two or three free agents on the market. It’s not that they couldn’t make it happen, but it just doesn’t seem likely. They’ve said that payroll will rise in 2023, but Turner would represent a jump of immense proportions. 

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Giants

Let’s say that Aaron Judge — understood to be San Francisco’s top target — decides early in the offseason that he’s staying in New York. At that point, it makes sense that the Giants would jump into the Turner sweepstakes with both feet, for all the reasons they have their sights set on Judge. They need an established bat in that lineup, whether Turner would hit up top or in the heart of the order. And they have the money to make it happen; you don’t go bidding for Judge without ample piles of cash. And, hey, as a bonus the Giants wouldn’t be mad that they’re taking Turner away from the Dodgers. 

Yeah, but … if the Giants feel like they have a legitimate shot at Judge, who grew up about 90 miles east of The Bay and played college ball at Fresno State, that’s where their attention will be focused, and Turner might not want to wait. Maybe they want to copy the Rangers and sign two players to massive free-agent deals, but that doesn’t seem likely. 

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Red Sox

If Bogaerts goes elsewhere and if the Sox think they won’t be able to sign Rafael Devers long-term, maybe they give that money to Turner and pair him with Trevor Story up the middle. That would be a solid combo, right? 

Yeah, but … if Bogaerts goes elsewhere and if the Sox don’t sign Rafael Devers long-term, there might not be any fans at Fenway at all next year.

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Mariners

There’s something special happening in Seattle, and adding an established star such as Turner to the mix for the next eight or nine seasons would be yet another step in the right direction. They’ve made it clear they’re happy with J.P. Crawford at shortstop, but sorry, Crawford is not the type of player who stands in the way of adding a player like Turner if that possibility becomes a reality. As we said earlier, imagine the Seattle lineup starting with Turner and J-Rod, or J-Rod and Turner. Would be hard to find a better 1-2 combo in baseball. 

Yeah, but … again, there are other options for the Mariners. And Seattle has other needs to address, especially in the outfield, where GM Jerry DiPoto has said he’s looking for at least one and probably two new faces to roam the grass at T-Mobile Park. 

Why Trea Turner could sign with the Yankees

If Judge quickly departs and the shortstop market is slow to develop — both possible developments — the Yankees would need to do something to make a big splash to placate fans. And not just for that reason, but to add offense to a lineup that desperately needs it. Yes, the Yankees have youngsters who could potentially play shortstop for the next decade, but Turner is an established star and if Judge leaves, giving that job to a rookie doesn’t seem very palatable. Speaking of palatable, it seems far more likely than the Yankees would bring in Turner than the other elite shortstop on the market, former Astros star Carlos Correa.

Yeah, but … pretty sure the Yankees aren’t yet ready to consider life without Judge. And there’s pretty much zero chance they’d close the door on Judge if there’s even a tiny chance of signing him, so if Turner wants to move quickly with his decision, the Yankees won’t be in position to make a deal happen. 

Where Trea Turner will sign as a free agent

If you read TSN’s prediction piece from last week, this won’t surprise you: I expect Turner to sign with the Phillies. It just makes too much sense, for so many reasons. The club has the need and the money to make it happen. Plus, Turner would be reunited with his former Nationals teammate, Bryce Harper. He’d have a chance to give Philly fans another World Series title and play the role of conquering hero.


Credit: sportingnews.com

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