Trea Turner has been one of the most durable, reliable shortstops in the Majors since 2018, putting the 29-year-old in position to be one of the biggest names on the free-agent market this winter.
Turner leads another stacked shortstop class, one that is likely to include Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa — the latter two if they opt out of their current deals, as expected.
Since the start of 2018, Turner has played in 651 of a possible 708 games, including 160 in 2022. He scored 101 runs and had 100 RBIs, though his OPS dropped to .809 after he averaged .900 during the three previous seasons.
Turner will have no shortage of suitors, potentially resulting in the second-biggest deal of the offseason, in terms of total value, behind only Aaron Judge. Who might those potential suitors be? Here’s a look at eight possible landing spots for Turner, listed in order of most likely to least.
Yes, the Phillies have the more pressing matter of the National League Championship Series on their minds right now, but they are expected to be aggressive this winter — with Turner atop their wish list. Jean Segura is expected to become a free agent, which would open up second base for Bryson Stott if Philadelphia signs a shortstop. Turner, who spent the first few years of his career with the Nationals, is said to prefer a return to the East Coast — making the Phillies a prime candidate to sign the All-Star.
If Turner is open to remaining on the West Coast, the Dodgers would certainly make sense, after he played the past year and a half in Los Angeles. That said, there has been a lot of talk that the Dodgers are prepared to let Turner walk in order to make a big play for Judge, a scenario that could take the NL West champions out of play for the shortstop.
Like the Phillies, the Giants are among the teams expected to be aggressive in free agency this offseason. Brandon Crawford has one year remaining on his contract, but we have seen Turner play second base before. So why not put him there for 2023 before shifting him to shortstop in ’24? San Francisco has great payroll flexibility, with only $70 million in salary guaranteed in 2023 and $20.5 million in 2024.
Baltimore’s surprising season has many expecting the Orioles to be active this winter, though the starting rotation would likely be the priority. But Baltimore was 10th in the American League in runs scored and its .641 OPS from the shortstop position ranked 11th. The Orioles have less than $9 million in guaranteed payroll in 2023 (more than $5 million of which will be paid to Chris Davis), so they will presumably be tied to a lot of big names this offseason.
Re-signing Judge figures to be the Yankees’ top priority this offseason. But if the slugger leaves town, New York could respond in a number of ways. Signing a high-profile starting pitcher seems more likely, especially with young shortstops Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe closer to making an impact in the Majors. But this is the Yankees, so the idea of them signing Turner can’t be discounted if Judge signs elsewhere.
The Braves have a high-profile free-agent shortstop of their own in Swanson. If Atlanta doesn’t bring back its incumbent on a new deal, it might be a stretch for them to lure Turner — who will likely cost significantly more. Then again, the Braves have already locked up a number of their young stars a few years before any of them reached free agency, so that could provide them with additional financial bandwidth for a player like Turner — whom they’re very familiar with from his days in the NL East.
Like the Braves, Boston will have a decision to make on its own premier shortstop, because Bogaerts is expected to opt out of his contract after the World Series. The Red Sox must decide whether to re-sign Bogaerts and/or work out an extension with third baseman Rafael Devers, who can hit free agency a year from now. But what if Boston decided that Turner was the player to build around going forward? With less than $90 million in payroll committed in 2023, the Sox have the money to sign one or two big contracts as they try to bounce back from a last-place finish.
The core of the 2016 World Series championship team is gone after the Cubs began their reset in the summer of 2021 with a number of trades. With only $89 million committed to payroll in 2023 and $50 million in ’24 — and no obvious long-term shortstop solution in the organization — Chicago could take a big swing in free agency this season.