Though they had to wait until June, a year after he was drafted and signed by the San Diego Padres, because of a rule regarding the trading of the previous year's draft picks which has since been changed, the Washington Nationals were excited to finally acquire the 22-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick Trea Turner as the Player to be Named Later (along with righty Joe Ross) in last winter's three-team deal which included the Tampa Bay Rays.
"We're happy to complete this trade and add an exceptional talent to our fold," General Manager Mike Rizzo said in a press release last June.
"From the outset, this was a complex deal, but we thought it was one that would better our organization for the present as well as the long term. That's always our goal. We look forward to getting Trea into our Minor League system."
While he remained in the Padres' system, Turner played at Double-A San Antonio, putting up a .322/.385/.471 line with 13 doubles, three triples and five home runs in 58 games and 254 plate appearances.
Turner started at Double-A Harrisburg, but didn't stay there long, posting a .359/.366/.513 line in ten games and 41 PAs before he was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse.
Though he started slowly with the Nationals' top minor league affiliate, going 0 for 18 before collecting his first hit, Turner adjusted quickly.
He ended up with a .314/.353/.431 line in 48 games and 205 PAs, impressing Chiefs' manager Billy Gardner, Jr., who told Syracuse.com's Lindsay Kramer in early August that he saw a bright future ahead for the shortstop:
"I see him as a frontline player at the major league level,'' Gardner said. "His talent is something you can see. But the other stuff, the intangible part of it, you have to be around him every day to really appreciate what he brings. He's got special talents. Special players do special things."
Turner was called up to the majors in August, with Rizzo explaining that they felt it was time to bring him up and see if he could help.
"We felt Trea was going to be a September call-up anyways," Rizzo told reporters in the nation's capital.
"We felt that maybe this is a time to inject a little more speed, youth and athleticism into the ballclub and we felt it was an opportune time to take advantage of some of his skills."
"He's gone through a lot of trials and tribulations this year," Rizzo continued.
"With that said, he takes a while to warm up to each level that he's played at, so we're not expecting him to be the savior of the offense or savior of the ballclub, we just want him to do what he does best, add his skill set to Matt Williams' arsenal of tools to win baseball games.
"Right now that's what we're about. We're not trying to develop at the big league level, we're just trying to win games and we're injecting players that we think have skill sets that will help us win."
When he was used sparingly there were questions about the decision to bring him up when the Nationals did, but Rizzo explained the thought process in bringing him up when they did and using him like they did in an MLB Network Radio interview.
"The thought process there was simple," Rizzo explained. "We had a plan for Trea. Don't forget, this is his first full professional season. Trea Turner has had plenty of at bats this year. He's played plenty of baseball. We felt that it was important for him to get to the big leagues because these are going to be his teammates in the near future and for a long time after that.
"We wanted him to get a feel for the big leagues and a taste for the big leagues, always knowing in our minds that he's played plenty of baseball for his first full professional season."
"I thought it was more important for him to get a taste of the big leagues, to meet the teammates that he's going to play with in the near future and I wasn't as concerned about the reps and the at bats because he has played plenty, believe me, in his first professional season and I think that he'll be the better for it being in the big leagues."
Turner ended up posting a .225/.295/.325 line with a double and a home run in 27 games and 44 PAs.
Though he was originally scheduled to go to the Arizona Fall League, Turner didn't end up being sent to the so-called "finishing school" for the game's top prospects, with a source telling MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr that Turner got more than enough games and at bats in 2015 and it was important that he rest up for what's expected to be a big season in 2016.
Turner was ranked as the top prospect among position players and the no.2 overall prospect in the organization by Baseball America this winter.
"It's a big offseason for him," Billy Gardner, Jr. told MASN's Kerr:
"If he gets a little bit stronger, works on some things and handles the grind of a long season. I think it will be big for Trea. I think he's very close. I really do. He's not far away.
"He brings a lot to the table. Obviously, the dynamic speed aspect of it, the ability to play shortstop, he can play second base, as well, which is an additional tool in his tool box, which can help a major league club."
Will he start the 2016 campaign with Gardner back at Triple-A or will the shortstop of the future play in the majors from the start future Super Two concerns be damned?
Washington Post writer James Wagner wrote earlier this month that, "Rizzo said Turner will compete at shortstop in spring training," but the WaPost writer noted that, "the Nationals have privately indicated he may need more time in the minors, particularly defensively."
Will he play short in the majors? Will he end up at second base? MLB.com's Pipeline scouts, in ranking Turner as the no.2 overall prospect in the organization as well, suggested that he can stick at short:
Unlike the vast majority of college shortstops, Turner will be able to stay at the position as a pro. He has plenty of quickness and solid arm strength, though he needs to improve his consistency. He won't be a Gold Glover but he can be a steady defender."
So what were the Padres and Rays thinking when they got involved with Rizzo and made this deal last winter?