In case you somehow missed all of it, there is a bit of drama developing in the aftermath of the blockbuster, headline-grabbing, three-team, eleven-player trade that went down this week between the Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays and wheeling-and-dealing San Diego Padres.
The controversy is centered around the fact that the one of the two prospects the Nationals received, shortstop Trea Turner, the Player To Be Named Later, can't be officialy dealt for another six months since he's a 2014 Draft pick.
Turner, 21, was drafted 13th overall out of North Carolina State by the Padres in this past June's Draft and the infielder signed for $2.9M on June 13th.
Well this day got a whole lot more interesting...— Trea Turner (@treavturner) December 17, 2014
As Baseball America writer J.J. Cooper wrote this week, Turner can't be dealt until mid-June because of a rule instituted in 1986 when Pete Incaviglia held out on the Montreal Expos after they selected him, eventually forcing a trade:
"So before the 1986 draft, baseball added rule 3(b)7 that no draftee could be traded until a year after he signed. By doing so, it ensured that no one could hold out to be traded to a preferred team. When a player to be named is included in a deal, the teams have six months to resolve that player to be named, so effectively, no draftee can be traded until six months after they are signed."
As BA's Cooper noted in the article, there have been trades in recent years in which players, Drew Pomeranz and Tyler Skaggs in particular, were dealt as PTBNLs and then held out of action for several weeks until they could be dealt.
In Turner and the Nationals' case, however, there are six months remaining until he can actually be traded under the current rules.
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo acknowledged the awkwardness of the situation in a conference call on Friday when he discussed the trade.
"'It’s a deal that was fairly complicated,'" Rizzo told reporters including the Washington Post's James Wagner.
"'It’s something that has not been done many times in the history of baseball and something we really had to think through.'"
Without mentioning Turner by name, Rizzo explained in the WaPost article how the situation would play out over the next six months barring any changes or exceptions to the rule:
"'We’re going to take a player from the list of the Padres,' Rizzo said. 'We’re going to watch him. There’s a trust factor that’s involved with us and the Padres. It’s a unique situation that hasn’t been done before. I’ve never done it before, and I’ve been doing this thing a long time. We’re going to trust each other and do what’s right by the player.'"
The idea of the player (Turner) continuing to play in his second pro season, with an organization that has no vested interest in his development is not sitting well with Turner's agent, CAA's Ted Berry, who spoke to FOXSports.com's bow-tied reporter, Ken Rosenthal, about the unique situation yesterday.
As Rosenthal wrote last night, "[Berry] told FOX Sports on Friday night that he 'will vigorously pursue all available courses of action to remedy this situation,' including a possible grievance in conjunction with the players union.'"
Turner's agent told Rosenthal, "... it was 'unconscionable' that Turner must stay with an organization that already has traded him and 'has zero concern, motivation or interest in his health, development or performance.'"
Rosenthal writes at the end of his article that, "MLB officials acknowledge that the rule needs to be revisited," though he doesn't see a quick resolution. He adds, however, that Berry, "... seems inclined to fight."
This could get interesting...
MLB needs to change rule of not being able to trade a player until a year after signing as an amateur or should not be able to be a PTBNL— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) December 20, 2014