Phillies’ Bryce Harper lauds star SS as free agency nears

Trea Turner #7 and Bryce Harper #34, formerly of the of the Washington Nationals (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
Trea Turner #7 and Bryce Harper #34, formerly of the of the Washington Nationals (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images) /

Bryce Harper made an interesting comment about a former Nationals teammate.

The Philadelphia 76ers are being investigated for possible tampering this offseason, as they retooled their roster in hopes of a deep playoff run next season. Considering what Philadelphia Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper said as an NBC Sports Philadelphia television broadcast guest during Thursday’s game against the Washington Nationals, perhaps the city’s baseball team will be the next in trouble.

In conversation with Tom McCarthy and John Kruk, the seven-time All-Star commented that current Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Trea Turner — who will likely enter free agency this offseason — is his “favorite player in the league, and it’s not even close.”

Earlier this year, Harper said Turner is “one of the most underrated players” in Major League Baseball. The duo were teammates for four seasons down in the nation’s capital — 2015 through 2018. Then, of course, came the slugging outfielder’s then-historic 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies that offseason.

Four years later, fans are wondering now more than ever if Turner will be the next former Nationals star to don red pinstripes.

Considering Didi Gregorius is now out of the infield picture, and with Jean Segura set to become a free agent himself (assuming the Phillies decline his $17 million team option for 2023), there definitely is an open spot for Turner if he chooses to come to Philadelphia.

Turner is a two-time All-Star who hit for the batting title in 2021 (.328). Through seven-plus seasons and 793 games entering Thursday, Turner has collected 179 doubles, 34 triples, 120 home runs, 410 RBI, and 221 stolen bases — while slashing an impressive .303/.356/.493.

The Florida native is primarily a shortstop, but he also has experience playing second base. Phillies rookie Bryson Stott can similarly play both middle-infield positions and would complement Turner well.

The Nationals have lost several star players in recent years. Along with Harper and Turner, they also bid farewell to Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer and, most recently, Juan Soto in a trade with the San Diego Padres.

The last memorable time Harper publicly praised a player like he did Turner on Thursday was then-impending free-agent J.T. Realmuto in 2020. Harper’s campaign ultimately was successful, as the catcher re-signed to a five-year deal. Phillies fans surely would love if history repeats itself.

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