When the contingent of three Phillies officials — Dave Dombrowski, Sam Fuld and Rob Thomson — met Trea Turner and his wife, Kristen, at their home in Florida, it was Dombrowski who did most of the talking. The visit before Thanksgiving lasted three hours. And, when Turner reported back to his agents, there was something that stuck with him.
Dombrowski, the club’s president of baseball operations, did not hide his intentions. He was transparent, and it set the tone for the negotiations. In baseball, obfuscation has become an art. Teams are more secretive than ever.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” Turner said to the three men. “All I ask is that you be honest with me.”
The Phillies showed Turner their hand.
“I didn’t really care to play the games and all that,” Turner said Thursday as he wore red pinstripes for the first time. “He told me right there that I was their No. 1 target.”
By the time Turner was introduced, his 11-year, $300 million contract had more context as a wild MLB offseason churned ahead. San Diego had agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal with Xander Bogaerts, who is almost a year older than Turner, 29, and less likely to remain at shortstop as long. Carlos Correa, who will not cost draft picks to sign, may fetch more than $300 million. The sport is awash with money.
The Nationals offered Turner $100 million before the 2020 season. He turned it down. He’s accumulated the second-most WAR, according to FanGraphs, in all of baseball since. (Only Aaron Judge was more productive.) His $300 million deal was the highest guarantee to a position player who attended college, before Judge’s $360 million contract eclipsed it. (Anthony Rendon’s $245 million was the previous record.)