Winter Meetings Day 1: Turner to Phils, Verlander to Mets

For the first time since 2019 in San Diego, the baseball Winter Meetings are full-go in person. And the biggest event of the offseason just so happens to be back in San Diego at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

It’s barely the afternoon on the West Coast and there has already been major news breaking on the free agent market. Two of the top available free agents this winter have reportedly agreed to terms on new deals. And both are with National League East teams outside of D.C.

The biggest contract handed out so far this offseason is sure to be heartbreaking for Nats fans to see. Trea Turner has reportedly agreed to an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies. The deal also reportedly includes a full no-trade clause, which will keep the shortstop in Philadelphia through the 2033 season.

ESPN was the first to report the Turner deal.

Turner, who played for the Nationals from 2015 until he was traded with Max Scherzer to the Dodgers at the 2021 deadline, reunites with Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and hitting coach Kevin Long as former Nats in Philly.

After signing Harper to a 13-year, $330 million deal with a full no-trade clause in March 2019 and signing Schwarber to a four-year, $79 million this past March, the Phillies are now committing $709 million combined between the three former Nationals.

Turner has proven himself to be one of the sport’s best players at a valuable position. He’s received MVP votes in the NL in three straight seasons, finished fifth in 2020, seventh in 2021 and 11th in 2022. He’s been an All-Star the last two years and won his first Silver Slugger Award this year after slashing .298/.343/.466 with an .809 OPS, 21 homers, four triples and a career-high 39 doubles and 100 RBIs.

The shortstop won the batting title in 2021 by hitting .328 between the Nats and Dodgers, while also leading the majors with 195 hits and the NL with 32 stolen bases.

On the pitching market, the big news over the weekend was Jacob deGrom signing a five-year, $185 million deal with the Rangers. Nats fans were sure to be happy to see the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner depart the Mets and head to the American League.

But those celebrations were short-lived when it was reported this morning the Mets agreed to terms with reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander on a two-year, $86 million deal that includes a vesting third-year option.

The option reportedly vests as a player option at $35 million for 2025 if he pitches at least 140 innings in 2024.

Former player Carlos Baerga was the first to report the Verlander news, last night on his Instagram page, with The New York Post and SNY confirming this morning.

Verlander’s reported $43.33 million average annual value is exactly the same as Scherzer’s, tying the highest AAV in major league history. Scherzer signed with the Mets for three years, $130 million before the lockout last winter.

The two right-handers are now reunited in New York after being teammates in Detroit from 2010-2014, when they combined for two Cy Young Awards and six All-Star appearances.

The Mets saw deGrom leave, only to have Verlander fill his spot atop their rotation with Scherzer.

Even with the new scheduling format that reduces the amount of games against division rivals, Nats fans can’t be happy to see another ace land in Queens.

In other starting pitching news, Clayton Kershaw is returning to the Dodgers on a one-year, $20 million contract, $5 million of which is a signing bonus. The team made the announcement earlier today.

Kershaw, who has spent his entire 15-year career with the Dodgers, is a three-time Cy Young Award winner, nine-time All-Star and five-time ERA champion. He also won a Gold Glove in 2011, the NL MVP in 2014 and the 2020 World Series in Los Angeles.

And in front office news, the Yankees today announced that they have re-signed Brian Cashman to a four-year contract through the 2026 season to continue serving as their senior vice president and general manager.

Cashman has been with the Yankees for 37 seasons and has won five World Series. Having been promoted to the position in 1998, he is the longest-tenured GM currently in the majors. 

There had been questions this offseason about his future with the club after the Yankees were swept out of the AL Championship Series by the Astros. The Yankees haven’t reached the World Series since 2009, when they beat the Phillies in six games.

Comment with your thoughts on today’s news, the offseason and the Winter Meetings below! I’ll be keeping track of all the news coming out of San Diego each day from the Winter Meetings this week. Check back throughout the afternoon and evening for any updates.

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