Phillies star shortstop in jeopardy of losing his spot in the lineup

Phillies trea turner
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner (7) reaches first base on an infield single to beat the throw to Tampa Bay Rays’ Yandy Diaz, left, during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 6, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Trea Turner was the signing that many Phillies fans and baseball admirers alike were excited to look forward to this past offseason. But so far, his time in the City of Brotherly Love has been anything but memorable or enjoyable.

Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner, left, throws over second baseman Bryson Stott after fielding a ground out by Washington Nationals’ Ildemaro Vargas during the third inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 2, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A Tale of Two Cities

Turner, a rising star in the MLB, had a stellar 2022 season that consisted of an All-Star nod, Silver Slugger award, and top-10 finish in MVP voting. So you can understand the hype surrounding him after a career year in Los Angeles. His decision to sign with Philadelphia during the winter meetings was one that looked to be a huge step forward yet we’re halfway into the season and it seems his skills have been lost in translation.

After manager Rob Thomson’s decision to give Turner two days off to “help” him work out of his slump, it seems his two-spot position in the lineup is being given a shorter leash. Thomson stated in the press conference before Friday’s matchup with Pittsburgh that if the rest given to Turner wasn’t assisting in his turnaround then the club would “have to make another decision”. Not something you want to see from a guy who was just given an 11-year, $300 million contract.

His reinsertion in the lineup for game one against the Pirates was anything but helpful as he posted an 0-5 night at the plate with one strikeout as the Phils captured a 2-1 victory. Some could throw in the fact that the rain delay might have played a factor here but it didn’t stop Kyle Schwarber and Bryson Stott from posting four hits and three walks combined in that win. It’s also important to note that Turner currently leads the league in at-bats although his stats don’t reflect that standing.

Unfortunately, his presence at the plate in game 2 and game 3 of the series against the Pirates was equally as abysmal. In game 2, Turner managed to notch 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, and 1 K in three plate appearances. Game 3 was just as disappointing, as Turner went 1 for 5 with 2 K’s in a heartbreaking 10th inning loss to the Pirates.

While his presence at the plate hasn’t been one to intimidate batters this season, his defensive abilities in the field have kept him relevant. It’s nice to see that his glove work hasn’t alluded him but you still can’t be too happy with his overall performance if you’re the Phils front office.

Phillies Trea Turner
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner follows through after hitting a home run against Detroit Tigers pitcher Joey Wentz during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Where do the Phillies and Turner go from here?

It remains to be seen if the comments made by Thomson will hold up as they progress through the campaign. I mean, looking at the facts, he’s stuck by Schwarber in the leadoff spot despite his abysmal .185 average in 384 at-bats this year.

If Turner were to lose his spot, it’s assumed that young buck Stott would shift right in there to keep things flowing. His current slash line of .306/.347/.438 is a nice change from last season and could provide more key situations for the batters after him to produce extra runs.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Steve Nesius