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Rule change. Should MLB let Trea Turner join the Washington Nationals?

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As of Friday, MLB changed the rules regarding the eligibility of drafted players to be traded. Starting with the 2015 draft, players are eligible to be traded the day after the conclusion of that season's World Series. Trea Turner will remain in limbo anyway.

MLB's rule change on Friday may end up getting nicknamed "The Trea Turner Rule," but MLB won't enact the new rule until after this year's draft.
MLB's rule change on Friday may end up getting nicknamed "The Trea Turner Rule," but MLB won't enact the new rule until after this year's draft.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Back in December, the Washington Nationals were involved in a three team trade with the Padres and Rays.  San Diego received Wil Myers, Ryan Hanigan, Jose Castillo, and Gerardo Reyes from the Rays in the deal.  Tampa Bay acquired Steven Souza (from Nats), Travis Ott (from Nats), Rene Rivera, Burch Smith, and Jake Bauers.  The Nationals received Joe Ross and a PTBNL (well known to be Trea Turner the day of the trade) for their part in the deal.  Unfortunately, Turner can't join the Nationals until June because of the rules regarding trading players within a year after they were drafted.

On Friday, Fangraphs' Dave Cameron reported that MLB has changed that rule moving forward.  The adaptation to the rule was emailed by MLB to all thirty big league clubs.  Let's have a look...

Please be advised that the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association have agreed to amend the Major League Rules in advance of this year’s Rule 4 Draft with respect to players-to-be-named-later ("PTBNLs") under Rule 12(e)(2), and the trading of draft picks under Rule 3(b)(6). …commencing with players eligible for the 2015 Rule 4 Draft, (a) players selected in the Draft may be traded beginning on the day following the conclusion of the World Series, and (b) drafted players cannot be PTBNLs unless they otherwise could be traded pursuant to Rule 3(b)(6), as amended, at the time of the trade.

MLB was careful with their phrasing, so they won't be allowing this new rule to affect the Trea Turner situation.  Turner will remain in the Padres system until (at least) June 13, one year from when he signed his contract with them.  Seeing as how Turner is the only PTBNL (that I'm aware of) that is waiting on this rule, it would have been a nice show of good faith for MLB to wipe out this part of their email......

commencing with players eligible for the 2015 Rule 4 Draft

If they'd done that, they could simply have enforced the final part of the December transaction and the Nats could get a player that everyone around the league knows they're getting.  This deal led to some harsh criticism of the rule in the media, and MLB changing the rule sure makes it seem like they realize that the rule was a bit outdated.  Why not just enact the rule change now rather than wait another month and a half to do so?

I suppose that if MLB did decide to take the route I suggest above, it could be viewed as preferential treatment for the Nationals.  That said, the Nats already had to miss having Turner in camp with his future organization.  They've already had to leave him in San Diego's system for the first month of the season.  While all reports are that the Padres are handling Turner as the Nats would prefer he'd be used (starting at SS in AA), I'm sure that the Nats would prefer that he was in their organization as soon as possible.  The preference would be that he's being coached by the Nats minor league staff as they develop him to become a future big league asset in their organization.  The Nats organizational philosophy isn't exactly the same as the Padres philosophy.  The Nats could also keep a closer eye on his general development if he were in their own system.

As I said above, the way that the (new) rule is worded, it's not going to happen.  MLB probably should have gone just a half step further and just allowed the deal to be completed.  Oh well... on to some game notes from Friday's loss.

Blake Treinen... Leverage... Stop!

I'm sure that many of you are expecting me to go off on Williams' decision to leave Treinen in to face Daniel Murphy last night.  I can't lie.  I wasn't happy with it.  Still, he did his job and got a relatively easy fly ball from Murphy.  Jayson Werth just butchered it and turned it into a three run double.  Here's my problem.......

Treinen has been given repeated opportunities to pitch in leverage roles.  In many of these situations, he's been set up to fail (facing a bunch of lefties, who absolutely crush him!). Tonight, he wasn't brought in to face a lefty.  Matt Thornton, who doesn't have big platoon splits, could probably have remained in to face Michael Cuddyer, but he was pulled in favor of Treinen after consecutive singles by Juan Lagares and Lucas Duda.  With Murphy on deck, I wasn't a huge fan of the move, but I can see it.

Anyway, Treinen was brought in for two main reasons:

  1. He was brought in to face the right-handed hitting Cuddyer and defuse what had suddenly become a dangerous situation in a one run game
  2. He was brought in to get a ground ball with two on and one out

Treinen came in to kind of a ROOGY situation.  We don't see that term very often.  We usually see it with left-handed pitchers (LOOGY).  One of the most frustrating things that I ever see from a LOOGY, who comes in to face a great left-handed hitter because he dominates lefties, is when they enter the game and just absolutely can't find the plate.  They have one job!

Treinen did exactly that in his ROOGY situation Friday night.  He came in with a lefty on deck in an already dicey situation, so logical bullpen management tells us that he might have only been in the game to face Cuddyer.  Here's the at bat.....

Pitch one was a breaking ball off the plate away.  It wasn't an automatic take, but it wasn't exactly a borderline pitch either.  Pitches two and three were well below the strike zone, and Cuddyer just spit on them.  Pitch four was a sinker down the middle.  Pitch five would have been a good pitch if he hadn't come in missing the plate by a fairly wide margin.  It was a little low, but it wasn't way off the plate.  If he'd come in throwing strikes or that was the first pitch of the at bat, he might have bought himself either a strike or a swing from Cuddyer.  Since he came into the game and was all over the place, he didn't get the call.

Just like LOOGYs, Treinen had one job.... Get the righty, or at least make good pitches and leave with his head high even if Cuddyer beats him.  He fell behind 3-0 on pitches that weren't real close and walked him.  He hasn't looked comfortable in leverage spots, and he hasn't looked crisp if he's had to warm up quickly.  Treinen shouldn't be near a leverage situation right now.... but he keeps coming into them.

Werth's defense

It makes me mad when F.P. Santangelo decides to become an apologist.  He did that tonight.  That was about as routine a play as there is in left field.  Lagares probably scores from third either way, but Werth turned an easy out into a three run double.  This just can't happen at the big league level.  I don't care if Werth is adjusting to the move from right field to left field.

Pitching

Max Scherzer is pretty freakin' bueno.  Matt Harvey is pretty freakin' bueno.  It was a joy to watch those two guys deal for seven innings each.

Luck dragons (?)

It really did seem like the Nats had the better chances in this one, but they just couldn't catch a break.  With two out in the top of the fourth, Ryan Zimmerman destroyed a ball to center field that hit off the base of the wall.  With one out in the bottom half of the inning, Michael Cuddyer didn't seem to hit the ball as hard to right center, but it scraped over the wall.  Tyler Moore absolutely demolished a hanging breaking ball in the top of the eighth that would have put the Nats ahead, but it died on the warning track and was caught by Cuddyer about a step in front of the wall.  Sometimes the breaks just don't go your way... they didn't for the Nats tonight.

Mad Max vs. Grandy

I brought this matchup up after the game on opening day as well.  Remember, once upon a time these guys were traded for one another, so it's kind of fun to see the two square off.  Granderson seemed to have the best at bats for the Mets against Scherzer when they met in April back in Nats Park.  The same thing happened Friday night in Citi Field.

AB1: Granderson crushed a 1-2 fastball to right center.  He got under it a little bit, but he hit it a lot harder than Cuddyer's home run.  I thought it was gone off the bat.

AB2: Scherzer got ahead of Granderson 0-2 with two outs and Dilson Herrera on second base.  Granderson stayed patient, didn't chase, and worked a walk four pitches later.

AB3: Granderson worked the count in his favor 2-1 and then inside-outed a pitch down the third base line for a double.  He would be thrown out at the plate trying to run on Harper a batter later.

These ended up being the only three matchups between the two.  Granderson would strike out to lead off the eighth inning against Matt Thornton.  I said it before the opener and I'll say it again.  I really like Curtis Granderson in the leadoff spot for the Mets, and think they've made the right call.  He does have enough power so that you might prefer to have him bat lower in the order. He strikes out a lot, too.  Still, he works deep counts and draws a ton of walks.

Desmond 0-for-29

Relax... Take a deep breath.  He has a history of being streaky and he's never had a high enough walk rate so that he offsets his slumps by drawing a ton of walks (he has four in this stretch).  He'll come around soon.  This is coming from a guy who isn't as big a Desi fan as most of the people in the fanbase.

Split the aces, bash the back of their rotation

When I previewed the series, I said the Nats should be heading to New York focusing on winning the series.  That meant splitting against the Mets' two studs (deGrom and Harvey).  They've done that.  Now go beat up on Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee like you're supposed to Nats!