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Trea Turner free agency landing spots: Why Phillies, Dodgers, more are in prime position for star shortstop

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Trea Turner was shortstop last season for one of the greatest regular season teams in baseball history, the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition to providing solid defense in this vital position, Turner cut .298 / .343 / .466 (121 OPS+) in his 29-year-old campaign by hitting 21 home runs and 39 doubles in 160 games. Over the past three seasons, Turner has had an OPS+ of 137 on the plate. In addition, he remains an elite base stealer.

Turner is also a free agent now, and given his wide prowess, it’s no wonder he’s high on our free agent list this offseason. Here’s what we wrote, placing Turner at number four on our top 50:

Turner has been the second most hit by a major shortstop over the past three seasons, posting a higher OPS+ than all but Fernando Tatis Jr., who has half as many plate appearances due to injury and suspension. He is a dynamic offensive player, an elite class runner with above average brute strength, able to put in 20-20 effort each season. Turner has a really aggressive approach to the plate whereby he readily expands his zone, but it hasn’t worked against him yet, and besides, bad balls are an opportunity for him to hit a single in the infield. Of greater concern in Turner’s game is his defense. He made 16 errors last season, more than any top free agent to date. (Carlos Correa, Xander Bogarts and Dansby Swanson totaled 26 points.) Mistakes are an imperfect measure, though it’s reasonable to assume that in the future he might have to slide to the other side of the bag (a position he’s already familiar with having played there). out of respect for Corey Seeger). Regardless, Turner has been a very productive striker throughout his career and there’s no reason to expect that to change anytime soon.

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So, ahead of what numbers will be a hot market for his services – a deal worth around $300 million seems likely – we’re here to rank all 30 teams based on how likely they are to sign Turner this offseason. This, of course, can change, and surprises are always possible. However, right now, here’s how the Turner market is doing.

Level 1: Not happening

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30. Pittsburgh Pirates
29. Oakland Athletics
28. Cincinnati Reds
27. Kansas City Royals
26. Colorado Rockies
25. Miami Marlins
24. Washington Nationals
23. Detroit Tigers

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These teams are in various stages of restructuring and thus prefer to be uncompetitive at the moment. In addition, most of these teams have owners who are unwilling to invest in the product at the level required to sign a player like Turner.

Level 2: not quite right

22. Cleveland Guardians
21. Tampa Bay Rays
20. Houston Astros
19. Texas Rangers
18. San Diego Padres
17. Milwaukee Brewers

While almost any team can be improved by adding a player like Turner, these teams are largely located in midfield. As such, they are unlikely to swim in Turner waters unless there is some kind of trade that opens up the place.

Level 3: Maybe, but it’s hard to see

16. Chicago White Sox
15 Minnesota Twins
14. Los Angeles Angels
13. Toronto Blue Jays

With these clubs, there is a need that Turner would fill (and then some), but such an amalgamation is complicated by the possibility that squad priorities lie elsewhere or a lack of desire on the part of the owners.

Level 2: Watch them

12. Arizona Diamondbacks
11. Baltimore Orioles

These two units are hardly the favorites in Turner’s service, but due to the need and possible efforts to fight this winter, they deserve attention on this front. The O’s are especially intriguing when it comes to Turner, but it’s still hard to put them on a par with the top contenders.

Level 1: Favorites

10. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are comfortable with Tommy Edman as their starting shortstop, which is a smart approach given their off-season priorities are adding a catcher and a powerful left bat in the outfield or in the DH. However, Turner remains a shot at becoming the reigning NL Central champion. Signing Turner would allow Edman to promote St. Louis’s second base position or return to his Swiss Army Knife role while remaining an everyday presence in the squad. It’s not hard to imagine that the Cardinals are a good fit for Turner.

9. Atlanta Braves
Obviously, this will only happen if Swanson writes elsewhere and briefly leaves a hole that the Braves are willing to pay to fill. Turner may not be the equal of Swanson in gloves, but he is a much better offensive player and outperforms the player overall. There is some question whether Atlanta is ready to take such a big hit even in the absence of Swanson.

8. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs say they are going to invest in a roster this winter after not doing so for some time. They need improvement all over the place and the shortstop is definitely one of those areas. The Cubs may choose to run away from Carlos Correa because he’s younger than Turner, but Turner is certainly on their radar too.

7. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners remain committed in word and deed to JP Crawford, but they are interested in high-ranking shortstops ready to move to second base, where there is a clear need for renewal. Of course, it’s worth recalling that after Turner was traded to the Dodgers in 2021, he did move to second base so Corey Seeger could stay short. However, free will gives a lot more autonomy, so it’s not certain that Turner will still be willing to make that shift. Among four premium free agent shortstops – Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogarts and Dansby Swanson – Turner is the only one to spend time in second place in the majors.

6. New York Mets
The Mets are another team reportedly interested in Turner as a second baseman. Francisco Lindor is one of the best shortstops in baseball and he’s not going anywhere. Turner, though, is a great fit for Mets second base, and they have the resources (and an owner who really cares about winning). The priority could be keeping Jacob de Grom or signing Justin Verlander to replace him, but Turner’s performance also seems to be on the radar.

5. New York Yankees
The first thing the Yankees do is re-sign Aaron Judge. If, however, that doesn’t happen, or if the Yankees decide to use more of their virtually limitless resources, then Turner would be a useful addition. The shortstop was a problem area last season due to Isaiah Keener-Falefa’s inability to hit major league pitching. If Keener Falef is moved, or if the Yankees decide it’s better to use him as a reserve, they’ll be better off. Turner instead of the status quo would significantly increase the chances of the Yankees to win the World Series.

4. San Francisco Giants
Brandon Crawford still appears to have solidified himself in the position, but lead decision maker Farhan Zaidi recently said he contacted free agent shortstops whose clients may want to leave the position in deference to Crawford. It is not known if Turner is in this group, but it is known that the Giants are in dire need of a producer like Turner.

3. Boston Red Sox
The proposed departure of Bogarts, himself a free agent, opens up a shortstop for Boston. (Indeed, Bogarts’ days in that position are over anyway.) Turner will obviously fill that gap nicely and provide a significant improvement in defense. The Red Sox’s commitment to fielding a rival team is questionable these days, but if they choose to commit their massive resources, Turner could be a real conduit for them.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s unclear if the current Dodgers are prioritizing Turner’s reunion. However, they are current players, and Turner has been a solid performer for them for the last season and a half. Right now, Gavin Lux is designated as Los Angeles’ starting shortstop, but that leaves a hole in Lux’s position at second base in 2022 (unless you buy Chris Taylor as a regular at that position). Needless to say, Andrew Friedman doesn’t usually leave gaps in the roster unfilled. The path of least resistance is to pay current rates for Turner.

1. Philadelphia Phillies
There has been quite a bit of buzz around this potential couple. Yes, Bryson Stott will be a long-term presence in Philadelphia, but Turner would be a significant upgrade with a shortstop bat. Also, Stott may have a clear path to second base now that Jean Segura believes he will be tied elsewhere. In addition, Turner is said to be staying close to his former Washington Nationals teammate Bryce Harper, who now plays for the Phillies, of course, and Turner is said to prefer returning to the East Coast. However, he is mainly a player who fulfills the needs of a club that has shown a clear willingness to invest in a roster in recent years.


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