Philadelphia Phillies give Trea Turner an 11-year, $300 million deal

Trea Turner is on his way to Philly.

Trea Turner is on his way to Philly. Image: Getty Images

Dave Dombrowski and the Philadelphia Phillies don’t seem to understand baseball’s new vibe. The extended playoffs mean, or should mean, that teams no longer have to go all out for 95-to-100 wins. The Phightins are the proof! 87 wins and a trip to the World Series!! All you have to do is win 85 or more, jump in and anything can happen in October. The owners insisted on this new system to increase their TV earnings from playoff games and ensure they get away with spending less on their rosters.

And the Phillies are blowing a hole in all of this.

They went out last night and gave Trea Turner an 11-year deal that will net him $300 million. He joins their shiny collection of stars, like Bryce Harper, or JT Realmuto, or Zack Wheeler, or Aaron Nola, or the next batch of players in Kyle Schwarber, or Nick Castellanos, or Rhys Hoskins. Turner upgrades the Phils in a number of ways, the first being a huge OBP boost at shortstop. Instead of Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins 1-2, Turner will add another .340 OBP there and mean more runners for the entire top of the lineup. It adds six to seven to the Phillies’ order as Alec Bohm’s contact counts begin to translate into his average and performance (his home runs-per-flyball rate is sure to increase going forward).

Turner’s excellent defense will also make a big difference as he pips Bryson Stott to second, meaning the Phils are no worse than serviceable in the middle with Realmuto, Turner, Stott and Brandon Marsh in the middle. Philly still won’t be a great defensive team, but they will improve through significant actions in 2023. Ranger Suarez might be the happiest person right now considering how often he gets grounders and how many of them will now turn into outs.

But more often than not, they swim against the tide of what baseball clearly wanted. You can be sure there were some owners who, in discussions with their front offices, used the Phillies run to the World Series as proof that just getting in was enough. Win 87 games then spin the postseason wheel. So those front offices need to turn around and say, “Well, if that’s the plan everyone should be following, why do the Phillies, the first beneficiaries of the extended playoffs, decide this isn’t the path they want to go further?” “

It’s certainly no longer about divisions, or it doesn’t have to be, because the wildcard rating doesn’t depend on that. The Philles might be content to finish the stretch from the Mets and Braves and secure their wildcard spot, as there are only four other teams in the National League even attempting it. And yet here they choose one of the four leading shortstops on the market.

I’d like to think that Dombrowski and team owner John Middleton saw those games at Citizens Bank Park last fall, how that place bounced after homers or big hits, and just decided to guarantee more moments like that. That’s the whole point of creating those moments and memories for your fans. Turner doesn’t guarantee two more wins in October, or even a return to the World Series, or even the NLCS. He just makes it more likely that there will be more times that Phillies fans will remember forever. Raise the percentages, shall we say.

Dombrowski used to be something of the scourge of new baseball watchers because he never cared four or five years in the future, the minor leagues are just a store closet to trade for players who can help today and when he’s done is, he will likely set your organization on fire. He was an old-school GM in a new world.

Now he’s a bit of a hero to fans tired of upholding wage flexibility and prospects as ideals. He’s the type to say fuck it and just try to build the best team he can play for next season. And then everything again the following winter. Everything is cyclic I suppose.

It would be nice if a new team would celebrate. So far, the biggest splashes of the offseason have come from Texas, Philadelphia and the Mets, who are the usual suspects at this point. But there is still time.

MLB wanted what the Phillies did last year to be the goal for most teams. They were the perfect model for those pushing for extended playoffs. You must have a pretty weird look on your face after the Phillies declared that’s not enough.