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December 06, 2022

MLB free agency: Trea Turner left $41 million on the table to come to Philly

It wasn't about money for Trea Turner. It was about Philadelphia.

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Trea-Turner-Dodgers-2022-Pending-Free-Agency-MLB.jpg Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies' 2023 shortstop Trea Turner.

All-Star Trea Turner will be the Phillies' shortstop in 2023 after agreeing to an 11-year contract worth $300 million with the team. It's a huge move for a franchise committed to spending "stupid money" and bringing a championship to Philadelphia. 

Turner wanted to be in Philly and it looks like money wasn't the biggest factor in his big free agency decision. 

The Athletic's Matt Gelb reported on Monday that the Phillies were not actually the highest bidder for Turner's services:

On Monday morning, one month to the day their unexpected postseason run ended with a Game 6 loss to the Houston Astros in the World Series, Dave Dombrowski contacted Middleton. The veteran baseball executive was here, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, for the sport’s annual Winter Meetings. According to major-league sources familiar with the negotiations, who were granted anonymity because the deal has yet to be finalized, Dombrowski had received enough credible intel to know this: The Phillies were not the high bidder for Turner. The two sides had a gap to bridge and, even then, it would be short of the total guaranteed dollars another team had offered. 
That team, multiple sources involved in the talks later revealed as the San Diego Padres, had a legitimate interest; they had met twice with Turner and were armed with an aggressive owner and general manager. San Diego’s engagement is what compelled Turner’s agent, Jeff Berry of CAA Sports, to contact other clubs a few days before the Winter Meetings to ask for offers. Turner’s market had accelerated. [Athletic/$]

Gelb went on to report that the atmosphere in Philadelphia during this fall's World Series run played a role in enticing Turner to sign with the Fightins:

The Phillies have spent weeks meeting with players and agents and pitching them on what is happening in Philadelphia. One common theme has emerged in those chats.

“The energy, the noise, the enthusiasm,” Dombrowski said. “Everybody’s mentioned it. Not just one. There’s a very big excitement.”

“I think it’s one of the first things that gets covered,” Fuld said. “A number of guys have used the phrase, ‘You can feel it through the TV.’ Most of the guys we talked to were glued to the TV watching, through the playoffs.” [Athletic/$]

The Eagles will always be No. 1 in Philly, but this past Red October illustrated that this city can be a baseball town when given a legitimate reason to care. 

According to a new report from ESPN's Buster Olney, the details of that offer are now known:

But not only did San Diego outbid the Phillies, according to industry sources, their offer would've made Turner the highest paid shortstop in baseball -- beyond the $341 million that Francisco Lindor got from the Mets, and that the Padres previously gave to Fernando Tatis Jr.

With deep family ties to the Philadelphia area and on the East Coast, Turner chose the Phillies -- despite a hard personal and financial push from the Padres, who sent a contingent of club officials to meet in person with Turner and his wife. Turner could've played shortstop for the Padres in 2023, batting in front of Juan Soto, Manny Machado and (eventually) Tatis Jr. [ESPN]

That's one hell of a way for Turner to endear himself to the Philadelphia faithful as quickly as possible. 

How down bad are the Padres after losing in five to the Phils in the NLCS and now losing out on Turner to them too?

As a group of strange San Diego fans might say, "That's what's in."

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