MLB

The chance to win and build his family drew Turner to the Phillies – Trentonian

The chance to win and build his family drew Turner to the Phillies – Trentonian

PHILADELPHIA — Trea Turner would tell you that having organizations vying for the privilege of paying you life-changing money to play baseball isn’t as fun as it might seem from the outside.

Then, for the 29-year-old All-Star who ventured into free agency with the intention of signing the final contract of his MLB career, money was not the primary consideration. A chance to win a second World Series, a place where he and his wife Kristen and young son Beckham could raise their family, a club where he felt he would fit in and be valued, all these factors played into the Turner’s decision to sign. with the Phillies last week. Although he reportedly left money on the table to do so.

As much as the non-money game has become an expected part of the introductory extravaganzas that unfolded Thursday at Citizens Bank Park, Turner’s quiet intensity made the point.

“We were 100 percent committed to where we were going to sign,” Turner said of pulling on his No. 7 pinstripe jersey for the first time. “We weren’t going to try to do a short-term deal or get the most money. We’re trying to build a family and be in one place for a long time.”

The $300 million didn’t hurt either, in a contract that will lock him in for 11 years. If all goes according to plan, the Phillies will be Turner’s last jersey as a big leaguer, signed during his age-41 season. That itinerary includes a core of Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos to add to the ring that Turner won as a National in 2019. To do so, the shortstop will aim to add to the dynamic that propelled the Phillies to a surprise NL pennant in 2019. 2022, one that lured Turner to Philadelphia.

“Money wasn’t necessarily the No. 1 option for us,” Turner said. “Obviously it plays a part, but we pictured ourselves here. I pictured myself in this uniform. She (Kristen) pictured herself living here and having family come visit. We pictured ourselves playing with Bryce and Schwarber and a lot of these guys on the team now. It seemed like a lot of things added up.”

It adds up to, if not more than, the $341 million the Padres offered Turner (a player San Diego took 13th overall out of NC State in 2014, but was shipped six months later , keeping it in limbo until the mandatory). the one-year waiting period on draft-trade prospects elapses.)

The Phillies hope that adding Turner will allow them to take the final two wins in their World Series goal, after losing to Houston in six games last month. He adds a lot: a career .302 average, MVP votes in three seasons, another glove at a key defensive position. He has played in 43 postseason games, batted .298 for the Dodgers last year with 100 RBIs after winning the 2021 batting title with a .328 average and is fourth among active majors in batting average (. 302) and seventh in stolen bases (230).

Turner met with Phillies manager Rob Thomson, general manager Sam Fuld and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski at Turner’s home in Florida before Thanksgiving. The three-hour meeting, Fuld said, was about getting to know the individual, what Thomson called, “the guy who is the ultimate son, father and husband.” Already very close to the Platonic ideal of a modern leading man, they knew the player they were after, having identified Turner as their top target among a multitude of free agent whereabouts.

But Turner was also doing his homework, meeting with various teams. His wife Kristen (nee Harabeian) had an important say and was drawn to be closer to her hometown of Flemington, NJ. They sought a partnership, “seeing it as a whole,” he said. Part of Turner’s process was to seek advice from players like Harper, who was in a similar situation four years ago, and examine some of the assumptions he (and Kristen, with Harper’s wife, Kayla) had made about Philly.

“They did a pretty good job of not trying to sway me too much one way or the other,” Turner said. “It was our decision, and that was a nice look.”

Philadelphia’s postseason atmosphere helped set the stage. Turner said he watched the World Series and was able to see not only the intensity of the city but the chemistry of the ball club. That it has become a recruiting tool is rewarding for Thomson.

“It’s hard to fake that,” Turner said. “You can see guys in the dugout on TV, obviously you talk to those guys and (hitting coach) Kevin Long and Schwarber, Bryce, they all said how good the club was. But I think you can see it from afar playing as well against them. You can also see it on TV. It’s very noticeable and it’s special when that happens.”

“It means a lot to me, and I’m not saying that’s what I did, but just the group of people that we did and the way they built the character and the togetherness,” Thomson said. “I’m proud of them for that.”

Dombrowski drew a parallel between Turner and Schwarber, despite the early rush to mislead Thomson about what will make it to the start. Before the 2022 season, the Phillies identified Schwarber as a free agent priority not only because of the bat that led to an NL-leading 46 home runs, but also his experience as a World Series winner. Turner does the same, with a club that has bolstered its postseason experience the old-fashioned way.

Neither Dombrowski nor Turner are sure what that contract will look like when the shortstop is 41 and still sitting on $27 million. Dombrowski believes Turner’s superior athleticism means his skills may not erode like your average ballplayer’s.

Turner is also confident, but for reasons that lean more toward the mental side.

“I bet on myself all the time,” he said. “That’s why me and my family are in this situation. I bet on myself every step of the way. I’m a competitor. I hate to lose, whether it’s at the board game or whatever, I don’t like to lose. I’m going to compete for as long as I can and at the highest level possible, and I’m just going to push myself every step of the way and push myself.”



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