clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nationals' Joe Ross reportedly "one of the most sought-after pitchers of the offseason"

Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo got involved in trade talks with the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays last winter and walked away with two former first-round picks. So why would Rizzo deal either Joe Ross or Trea Turner?

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Washington Nationals' General Manager Mike Rizzo got involved in talks with Tampa Bay and San Diego last winter and walked away with potential shortstop of the future Trea Turner, 22 and a first-round pick by the Padres in 2014, and right-hander Joe Ross, 22 as well, and another former first-rounder (2011). Rizzo sent outfielder Steven Souza and left-handed prospect Travis Ott to the Rays to complete their end of the deal.

San Diego reportedly regretted at least one part of the package they sent to the Washington in the three-team trade.

When the Nationals asked about closer Craig Kimbrel at the non-waiver trade deadline, the Padres reportedly wanted to get Turner back as part of any deal for the veteran stopper.'s Jon Heyman reported then that sources told him San Diego, "... suggested a return of shortstop Trea Turner in a potential package," before adding that, "word is the chances of that happening are somewhere between slim and none."

Heyman wasn't the only who heard about the Padres' request:

Turner started at Double-A in the Padres' system and remained in San Diego's organization until he was included as the Player to be Named Later in June, as per the since-altered rules regarding trading draft picks within a year after selecting and signing them.

He moved to Double-A Harrisburg with the Nationals once the deal was done, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse and eventually debuted in the majors after having put up a .322/.370/.458 line in his second minor league season.

Ross started at Double-A with the Nats as well, going (2-2) in nine starts with a 2.81 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 12 walks (2.10 BB/9) and 54 Ks (9.47 K/9) in 51 ⅓ innings before he got a somewhat surprising call to the majors to make his MLB debut.

Though he was sent down for a time, Ross finished the season with the Nationals eventually replacing the ineffective Doug Fister, and going (5-5) in 16 games, 13 starts, with a 3.64 ERA, a 3.42 FIP, 21 walks (2.47 BB/9) and 69 Ks (8.10 K/9) in 76 ⅔ IP.

In talking about his plans for the 2016 rotation recently, Rizzo told reporters, including Washington Post beat writer Chelsea Janes, that after losing Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister to free agency this winter, he's comfortable, "... sliding Tanner [Roark] and Joe in the rotation," though he, of course, added that, "With that said, you can never have enough good starting pitching."

Boston Globe columnist Nick Cafardo too wrote this morning that with Zimmermann and Fister departing, Ross would fit in the rotation, but also noted that the right-hander has been "[o]ne of the most sought-after pitchers of the offseason," though, "[f]or the moment, GM Mike Rizzo is resisting all offers."

Ross, helps fill one of the two holes left by the departing free agents, but, Cafardo notes, the Nationals, "...have other needs and Ross would bring a huge return."

It makes sense that rival executives would be asking about Turner and Ross in any trade talks, but why would Rizzo want to deal young, major-league-ready talent that's under control for years to come? Uh... sorry, Padres.