Some Phillies observations from the action-packed 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The World Baseball Classic came to an end Tuesday evening when Team USA fell to Shohei Ohtani and Japan, 3-2. Two Philadelphia Phillies players accounted for Team USA's entire offense in the tournament's championship game — with Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber each slugging a solo home run.
Team USA had the chance to tie Japan for the most titles in tournament history (2). Instead, Japan captured its third championship, whereas the United States remains at one (2017).
The game of baseball surely benefited from the World Baseball Classic, which already announced it will return in 2026 — the same year the Phillies will host Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in honor of the United States' semiquincentennial (250th anniversary).
Here are three Phillies thoughts following the 2023 World Baseball Classic, as the team gets back together for the final spring training games ahead of Opening Day against the Texas Rangers on March 30.
1. Trea Turner will be a special Phillies player in the next decade
The Phillies knew Trea Turner was a special player when they signed him to an 11-year, $300 million contract earlier this offseason. But Turner's contributions in the World Baseball Classic only verified those thoughts — so much so that some are arguing the Phillies perhaps got Turner on a bargain deal.
Turner was absolutely dominant in the World Baseball Classic, slashing .391/.440/1.043. His five home runs tied Korea's Seung Yuop Lee (2006) for the most in a single World Baseball Classic.
Team USA would not even get the chance to compete for the title on Tuesday had Turner not crushed a late, go-ahead grand slam earlier in the tournament. The swing notably was the first go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning or later in World Baseball Classic history.
Also, had Turner not homered off Japan on Tuesday to give Team USA a 1-0 lead, the entire momentum of the game could have swung in the opposing team's favor much earlier than it did.
Statistics do not necessarily show, but Turner seemed to be a lock-down defender at the shortstop position. All around, the Phillies have a special player on their hands who hopefully will carry this momentum into the regular season.