The MLB offseason is always a fascinating event. We get to see players switching teams, fanbases getting their hopes up for the coming year, and the market reacting in real time to everything that’s happening throughout the league.
One of the players who’s making a roster change is Trea Turner. The former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop is now joining the Philadelphia Phillies, agreeing to an 11-year, $300 million deal.
The 29-year-old Turner is certainly excited about his shiny new contract; he’s just one of a handful of players who will make at least $300 million from a single deal. But New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge should send Turner a thank you card before the season starts — here’s why.
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Judge and Turner were the headliners of this offseason’s free agents. The San Diego Padres were hoping to land one or both of them with a massive deal. The Padres offered Turner $342 million, though Turner, who previously played for the Washington Nationals, seemed set on returning to the east coast. He turned down San Diego’s offer in favor of Philadelphia.
After Turner signed with the Phillies, the Padres put their full attention on Judge. That culminated with a $400 million offer over 10 years, which would have been the second-largest deal in MLB history. Instead, Judge stayed with the Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million deal.
Math experts might recognize both offers to Judge were worth $40 million annually. While it’s possible that was the Padres’ plan all along, once Turner rejected the team’s deal, they likely upped the ante in their pursuit of Judge. Their higher offer drove up the price for the Yankees since matching the $40 million average annual value seemed like a big deal.
So, Turner ends up with $300 million, and Judge ends up with $360 million. By the end of the first day of baseball’s winter meetings, more than $1 billion had been doled out to free agents. When everything’s all said and done, teams will likely have committed between $2 and $3 billion to impending free agents.
Yep, now is a great time to be a baseball player.
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