Trea Turner Rumors: Phillies Viewed as Favorites to Sign Star SS in MLB Free Agency

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 30, 2022

Trea Turner
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly "viewed as the favorites" to sign superstar shortstop Trea Turner, one of the top players available on the free-agent market.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the update Wednesday:

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Phillies?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Phillies</a> have emerged as favorites to sign Trea Turner. My latest report here. <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBNetwork</a> <a href="https://t.co/PVjw5f6NhP">pic.twitter.com/PVjw5f6NhP</a>

"The Phillies will wind up with one of the [elite] shortstops. That's going to happen," an agent told ESPN's Buster Olney.

Along with Turner, the other high-profile shortstops available in free agency include Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Turner is coming off a 2022 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he posted a .298/.343/.466 slash line with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 160 games.

His 31.6 WAR since 2016, when he enjoyed a 13-homer, 33-steal breakout season with the Washington Nationals, ranks 10th among all MLB hitters over that span, per FanGraphs.

There were questions about whether the 29-year-old Florida native would limit his potential suitors in free agency, similar to what he did while getting traded by the Nats in 2021, but he told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register he'd keep an open mind on the market.

"I originally said that so I wouldn't necessarily get traded to certain places. I was trying to control as much as I could—because a lot of it was out of my control," Turner said in September. "Yeah, I'm an East Coast guy. But with free agency, you get a chance to pick and control it as much as you can in your entire career. I'm open to anything really. Everything is in play."

Leaving the Dodgers to join the Phillies, who made an unexpected run to the World Series as a wild card in 2022, could shift the balance of power in the National League.

Philadelphia would open the season with a top three in the batting order of Turner, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins, which would already be among MLB's best, and it should get two-time MVP Bryce Harper back at some point during the season after elbow surgery.

At full strength, the Phillies would have a stacked roster capable of making another World Series push, but they likely wouldn't even be a clear favorite to win the NL East.

The Atlanta Braves, who've captured the division title five straight years, and New York Mets also figure to remain top-tier contenders in 2023. So it would set up potentially one of the best three-way divisional races in recent memory.

Turner is the type of game-changing talent capable of singularly tipping the scales in favor of the Phillies, especially if the Braves aren't able to retain Swanson from the loaded group of shortstop free agents.

None of the big names at the key position has come off the board yet, but once someone does sign to set the financial market, the others could fall into place quickly.

It sounds like Philly is ready to make a shortstop splash one way or another, though Turner is the ultimate prize.