Trea Turner is one of the most prized free agents this winter, officially hitting the open market on Sunday morning, along with nine other Dodgers. As such, his agents at CAA Baseball have created a hype video narrated by none other than Jon Hamm.
We could debate some of the claims in the video, such as “ he plays elite shortstop” to describe Turner, who has rated mostly average to a little above at the position for most of his career. This year, he was average by Outs Above Average (0) and slightly below by Defensive Runs Saved (-1), and slightly above by Total Zone Rating (+1).
Even with the non-elite defense, Turner has still been incredibly valuable. As the video says, Turner ranks second in FanGraphs WAR since the start of 2019 (20.0 fWAR), second only to Aaron Judge (22.3), and ahead of Mookie Betts (19.6), Freddie Freeman (19.5), and Jose Ramírez (19.4). That segment was well worth it just to hear Hamm say “fWAR.”
The video touts Turner’s numbers, but not overly so. They focus on the cool stuff too like his highlight-reel slides. “Trea Turner makes the game more fun to watch,” Hamm says. “He’s who you pay to watch play.”
We don’t really need to quibble at the facts of what is essentially a hype video, or “sizzle reel” as Jeff Passan at ESPN described, to distribute to MLB teams. It’s meant to be flashy, which coincidentally is how the video ends.
“You have the opportunity to change the direction of your franchise with a centerpiece, a player who gives you a chance to win every day with him at the top of your lineup,” Hamm said. “Focus now, because the opportunity will pass you by in a flash.”
In a way, at least for teams willing to shell out nine-figure, long-term contracts, this video posits that Trea Turner is what the money’s for.