The Los Angeles Dodgers found themselves in a quandary when it came to free agency in the winter of 2021 and again in the winter of 2022. Their starting shortstops were eligible for free agency back-to-back. They were too expensive to keep and too talented to let go.
After the 2021 season, Corey Seager (29, Texas), who was highly touted as the team’s next franchise star, was eligible for free agency. The Dodgers hesitated before giving up on Seager. They couldn’t match Texas’ offer of $325 million over 10 years, and they had already acquired Trey Turner (30, Philadelphia) in a trade with Washington. It was the ultimate insurance policy in case Seager left.
Turner proved the Dodgers right. In 160 games last year, he hit .298 with 21 home runs, 100 RBIs, 101 runs scored, 27 doubles, and an OPS of .809. At least last year, Seager’s absence was not apparent. The problem is that Turner is also a free agent after the 2022 season.
Turner drew interest from several teams, is known to favor the East Coast, and when Philadelphia offered him $300 million over 11 years, the Dodgers never looked back. Turner himself said after the trade to Philadelphia that the Dodgers didn’t offer him anything. The Dodgers considered Gavin Lux to be Turner’s replacement.
While Lux suffered a knee injury in an exhibition game and is out for the season, Turner’s performance this year has been a head-scratcher for the Phillies. That’s because he’s underperforming in the first year of his big contract.
Through 55 games as of Aug. 2, Turner has played in 247 plate appearances – the most in the league – and is batting just .236. He has a .279 slugging percentage and a .648 OPS. His OPS is 23% below the league average. While he has five home runs and eight stolen bases, Turner’s biggest strength, his precision hitting, hasn’t come through.
This is the worst time of Turner’s career. Since debuting in the majors in 2015, Turner has never posted an OPS better than .648 over any 55-game stretch. This is literally the darkest tunnel he’s been in since his debut.
When you look at the metrics, it’s even bleaker. Turner’s hard-hit rate (batted balls hit over 95 miles per hour) has dropped from 46.2% in 2021 and 41.6% last year to 36.6% this year. On top of that, his strikeout rate has risen above 20% (24.7%) for the first time since his rookie season in 2015. He’s always been more of a hitter than a walker, but his strikeouts have increased and his batting average has deteriorated.
He also ranks near the bottom of the league in both his swinging strike rate and batted ball rate. His swinging strike rate is in the bottom 85% and his batted ball rate is in the bottom 91%. With these leading indicators, it’s hard to see a rebound anytime soon.
Turner isn’t a big guy. Instead, he’s a moderately sized player with explosive energy. Usually, players like this age relatively quickly and their performance can decline quickly. I’m sure Philadelphia was aware of this risk, and the idea was to get as much payback as possible in the first four or five years. However, you can’t help but feel uneasy about the first season. 메이저놀이터