Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner figures to be one of the biggest names on the free-agent market this coming offseason, with several contenders in need of a shortstop. USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale ran down the numbers last week and came away with one team he considers the favorite to sign Turner.
Dodgers All-Star shortstop Trea Turner should earn at least $330 million this winter as the top free agent to hit the market and says that Los Angeles has grown on him as a city. The question is will the Dodgers give him that kind of money when they didn’t keep homegrown shortstop Corey Seager, who signed for $325 million last winter with the Texas Rangers?
The favorite to land Turner continues to be the Philadelphia Phillies, who have about $50 million coming off the books.
Nightengale’s comparison between Turner and Seager is understandable, but it’s not especially apt. Other than playing the same position and both being good at baseball, the two shortstops have very little in common. Perhaps most notable among the differences is athleticism — the Dodgers clearly didn’t think Seager would be a shortstop for the duration of a long-term contract, and they weren’t going to pay shortstop money for a third baseman. Turner isn’t likely to win a Gold Glove at short, but he’s better defensively than Seager and has the athleticism to stay at the position.
On the other side of the coin, Seager was about two years younger last offseason that Turner will be this year, information that every team is aware of. The Dodgers don’t get scared off by dollar signs, they get scared off by years. They let Zack Greinke walk because of the length of the contract, and Seager was mostly the same story.
It’s easy for Nightengale to say Turner is likely to get $330 million, but when you break down the numbers, he’s saying either that Turner will get 10 years — the same number of years as Seager despite being two years older — or that he will get more than $40 million per year.
There’s a third option, of course, which is that Bob pulled a number out of his backside without much thought behind it. And if that’s the case, it’s hard to take it too seriously when he declares a favorite to sign him, especially when the extent of his analysis seems to be “the Phillies have money.”
So yes, Trea Turner might end up with the Phillies. But it seems unlikely that Bob Nightengale has any inside information on that likelihood.
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