This past season, Trea Turner pinned down shortstop for one of the greatest regular-season teams in baseball history – the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition to providing solid defense at that vital position, Turner in his age-29 campaign slashed .298/.343/.466 (121 OPS+) with 21 home runs and 39 doubles in 160 games. Over the past three seasons, Turner at the plate has an OPS+ of 137. As well, he remains an elite base-stealer.
Turner right now also happens to be a free agent, and given his broad-based excellence it’s not surprising that he ranks highly on our list of free agents for the current offseason. Here’s what we wrote in ranking Turner fourth on our top 50:
Turner has been the second-best hitting shortstop in the majors over the last three seasons, posting a higher OPS+ than everyone except Fernando Tatis Jr., whose production came in half as many plate appearances due to injury and suspension. He’s a dynamic offensive player, an elite-grade runner with above-average raw power who is capable of posting a 20-20 effort each season. Turner does have an aggressive approach at the plate that sees him willingly expand his zone, but it hasn’t worked against him yet and, besides, mishit balls are an opportunity for him to lay out an infield single. The most concerning matter with Turner’s game is his defense. He committed 16 errors last season, by far the most of the top free-agent shortstops. (Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson combined for 26.) Errors are an imperfect measure, although it’s reasonable to think he may need to slide to the other side of the bag in the future (a position he’s already familiar with, having played there out of deference to Corey Seager). Regardless, Turner has been a highly productive hitter throughout his career, and there’s no reason to expect that to change soon.
So in anticipation of what figures to be a heated market for his services – a deal worth close to $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, is subject to change, and surprises are always possible. Right now, though, here’s how things look for the Turner market.
Tier 1: Not happening
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
These teams are at various stages of rebuilding and thus are choosing to be non-competitive at the moment. As well, most of these teams have owners who are unwilling to invest in the product at the level required to sign a player like Turner.
Tier 2: Not really a fit
22. Cleveland Guardians
21. Tampa Bay Rays
20. Houston Astros
19. Texas Rangers
18. San Diego Padres
17. Milwaukee Brewers
While pretty much any team can be improved with the addition of a player like Turner, these teams are pretty much set in the middle infield. As such, they’re unlikely to swim in the Turner waters absent some kind of trade that opens up a spot.
Tier 3: Maybe but hard to see it
16. Chicago White Sox
15. Minnesota Twins
14. Los Angeles Angels
13. Toronto Blue Jays
With these clubs, there’s a need that Turner would satisfy (and then some), but such a pairing is complicated by the likelihood that roster priorities lie elsewhere or a lack of willingness on the part of ownership.
Tier 2: Keep an eye on them
12. Arizona Diamondbacks
11. Baltimore Orioles
These two squads are hardly the favorites for Turner’s services, but thanks to the need and a possible effort towards contention this winter they deserve monitoring on this front. The O’s are particularly intriguing when it comes to Turner, but it’s hard to class them with the leading contenders just yet.
Tier 1: The favorites
10. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are comfortable with Tommy Edman as their starting shortstop, and that’s a sensible approach given that their offseason priorities are adding a catcher and a potent left-handed bat in the outfield or at DH. All that said, Turner remains a possibility for the reigning NL Central champs. Signing Turner would allow Edman to upgrade the second base position for St. Louis or go back to his “Swiss Army knife” role while remaining an everyday presence in the lineup. It’s no stretch to think the Cardinals can be a fit for Turner.
9. Atlanta Braves
Obviously, the only way this happens is if Swanson inks elsewhere and leaves a hole at short that the Braves are willing to pay up to fill. Turner may not be Swanson’s equal with the glove, but he’s a much better producer on offense and the overall superior player. There is some question whether Atlanta is willing to take such a big swing even in the absence of Swanson.
8. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs say they are going to invest in the roster this winter after not doing so for some time. They need improvements all over the place, and shortstop is certainly one of those areas of need. The Cubs may prefer to make a run at Carlos Correa on account of his being younger than Turner, but Turner’s surely on their radar, as well.
7. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners, by word and deed, remain committed to JP Crawford at short, but they have interest in high-profile shortstops willing to shift to second base, where there is a distinct need for an upgrade. It’s of course worth recalling that after Turner was traded to the Dodgers during the 2021 season, he actually shifted to second base so that Corey Seager could remain at shortstop. Free agency carries with it much more autonomy, however, so it is not certain that Turner would still be willing to make such a shift. Among the four premium free agent shortstops – Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson – Turner’s the only one who spent time at second as a major leaguer.
6. New York Mets
The Mets are another team with reported interest in Turner as a second baseman. Francisco Lindor is among the best shortstops in baseball, and he’s not going anywhere. Turner, though, would be an excellent fit at second base for the Mets, and they have the resources (and an owner who actually cares about winning). A priority may be retaining Jacob deGrom or signing the likes of Justin Verlander to replace him, but a play for Turner also appears to be on the radar.
5. New York Yankees
The Yankees’ first order of business is re-signing Aaron Judge. If, however, that doesn’t come to pass or if the Yanks decide to use more of their basically unlimited resources, then Turner would be a helpful addition. Shortstop was a problem area last season because of Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s inability to hit against major-league pitching. If Kiner-Falefa is moved or if the Yankees determine he’s best deployed as a reserve, they’ll be better off. Turner in place of the status quo would improve the Yankees’ chances of winning the World Series substantially.
4. San Francisco Giants
Brandon Crawford appears to be still entrenched at the position, but lead decision-maker Farhan Zaidi recently said he’s been in contact with the reps for free agent shortstops whose clients may have a willingness to move off the position in deference to Crawford. Left unstated is whether this group includes Turner, but what is known is that the Giants badly need a producer like Turner in the lineup.
3. Boston Red Sox
The presumed departure of Bogaerts, himself a free agent, opens up shortstop for Boston. (Really, Bogaerts’ days at the position should be over, anyway.) Turner, obviously, would fill that hole nicely and provide a substantial defensive upgrade. The Red Sox’s commitment to fielding a contending team is very much left to question these days, but if they decide to tap into their vast resources then Turner could be a real needle-mover for them.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s not clear that the incumbent Dodgers are prioritizing a Turner reunion. Still, they are the incumbents, and Turner was a reliable performer for them last season-and-a-half. Right now, Gavin Lux is penciled in as LA’s starting shortstop, but that leaves a hole at Lux’s 2022 position of second base (unless you buy Chris Taylor as a regular at the position). Needless to say, Andrew Friedman doesn’t typically leave roster holes unfilled. The path of least resistance is to pay the going rates for Turner.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
There’s been quite a bit of buzz surrounding this potential pairing. Yes, Bryson Stott is going to be a long-term presence in Philly, but Turner would be a substantial upgrade with the bat at the shortstop position. Also, Stott could have a clear path to playing at second base now that Jean Segura figures to be bound elsewhere. As well, Turner is said to remain close to his former Washington Nationals teammate Bryce Harper, who now of course plays for the Phillies, and Turner is said to prefer a return to the East Coast. Mostly, though, this is a player who fills a need for a club that has shown a clear willingness to invest in the roster in recent years.