Phillies stars Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto will be Team USA teammates with Trea Turner in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The Philadelphia Phillies recently announced their 32-game spring training schedule for the 2023 season — set to begin Saturday, February 25, and end on Tuesday, March 28, ahead of Opening Day two days later against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field.
Phillies fans will surely flock down to Clearwater to get their first taste of baseball after a long, cold, and dark offseason. But two Phillies stars will be noticeably absent for a large portion of the Grapefruit League slate — catcher J.T. Realmuto and right fielder Bryce Harper.
The duo has committed to play for Team USA in next spring’s World Baseball Classic — set for Wednesday, March 8, and conclude with a championship game on Tuesday, March 21, at the big-league home of the Miami Marlins, LoanDepot Park.
The Team USA roster is still being announced in spurts. And while the newest commit does not don red pinstripes, he just may for the first time once the international tournament comes to an end. Wednesday afternoon, USA Baseball announced that pending star free-agent shortstop Trea Turner is “all in.”
Former Washington Nationals teammates with Harper for four seasons — 2015 through 2018 — Turner is a two-time All-Star who entered Wednesday as the MLB leader in at-bats this season with 522. In 128 games with the postseason-bound Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022, the eight-year veteran is slashing .308/.353/.483 with 33 doubles, 18 home runs, 86 RBI, and 21 stolen bases out of 23 attempts.
Harper has publicly praised Turner many times since their careers transitioned to separate teams. This month as an NBC Sports Philadelphia television broadcast guest, the seven-time All-Star said the Dodgers shortstop is his “favorite player in the league, and it’s not even close.” Earlier this year, Harper said Turner is one of Major League Baseball’s “most underrated players.”
With the Phillies able to part ways with Jean Segura on a $1 million buyout after the 2022 season, Bryson Stott could slide over to second base — clearing a spot for Turner.
It is hard to imagine Turner will go into the World Baseball Classic still as a free-agent, but if he does, Harper and Realmuto will have plenty of opportunities to convince the star to sign with the Phillies.