Trea Turner and Bryce Harper were teammates on the Washington Nationals from 2015-2018, when both looked like key building blocks for the organization.
However, after the 2018 season, Harper signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent, and during the 2021 season, the Nationals traded Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While they have gone their separate ways, both have each continued to find success with their new teams. Harper won the 2021 National League MVP Award while Turner finished fifth in the voting and was selected to his first All-Star Game. Turner additionally won the NL batting title in 2021.
Turner has maintained superstar levels of production, but sometimes seems to be somewhat forgotten and underappreciated. Not for Harper, however, who expressed his admiration for Turner and anticipation over his free agency decision, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
“I think Trea Turner is one of the most underrated players in the game. He’s one of those guys that just goes under the radar. He’s one of the best shortstops in the game. I’m excited to see where he goes next year.”
Last season, Turner finished the year batting .328/.375/.536 and two home runs shy of a 30-30 season. This season he is hitting .320/.369/.504 with 10 home runs, 52 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Turner’s production has been particularly key as he’s moved to the leadoff spot with Mookie Betts on the 10-day injured list.
The 28-year-old is set to reach free agency after the season and should command a significant contract that could easily exceed $300 million.
Turner praises Harper
When Harper was in the midst of a historic stretch at Dodger Stadium, Turner couldn’t help but marvel at his ability.
After the Dodgers were defeated by the Phillies, 8-3, on May 14 with Harper going 3-for-4 with a home run, Turner said he feels like Harper “is the best player in the world” when on a hot streak.
“I watched it for years over there (with Nationals), but since he’s been with the Phillies the last few years, you feel like he has a bad year and then you look up his numbers and he’s got a .900 OPS and hitting really well,” Turner said. “So you’re like, ‘Oh, he’s playing good.’ And then he wins the MVP. So it’s kind of crazy.
“The numbers he can put up offensively are really special. He’s one of a kind, and that’s why he won the MVP last year and why he’s doing what he’s doing now.”
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