Trea Turner, a 2014 first-round pick out of North Carolina State University, was ranked second overall in the San Diego Padres' organization when Baseball America released their list of the Padres' Top 10 prospects for 2015, in spite of the fact that the 21-year-old infielder was believed to be the Player to be Named Later sent to Washington along with right-hander Joe Turner as part of the three-team, eleven player deal last December which included the Tampa Bay Rays.
Taken 13th overall by the Padres, Turner would, Baseball America's Matt Eddy explained, remain in San Diego's system, because he couldn't, "... be traded until one year after his signing date of June 13," under MLB's rules.
Turner was one of twelve "prospect-eligible" players traded by the Padres, Eddy wrote, but until he could be included in the deal, which came just six months after he got an above-slot $2.9M signing bonus from San Diego, he had to remain with the organization that drafted him.
Turner played 69 games in the Padres' system in 2014, putting up a .323/.406/.448 line with 16 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 23 stolen bases over 321 plate appearances between Low-A Eugene and Class-A Fort Wayne, and finished the year off with a trip to the Arizona Fall League where he was 14 for 35 in nine games.
As soon as he was included in the deal, BA's John Manuel wrote on Twitter in December, he would be the top infield prospect in the Nationals' organization:
Rest of list thru 12, since I've mentioned these guys: 7. Cole. 8. Difo. 9. Ward. 10. Goodwin. 11. Pivetta. 12. Voth. Hope we're straight!— John Manuel (@johnmanuelba) December 19, 2014
Turner was ranked 88th overall on ESPN.com's Keith Law's list of the Top 100 prospects in baseball.
MLB.com ranked him 8th overall among shortstop prospects with Jonathan Mayo writing that Turner has, "top-of-the-chart speed," showed, "a very good feel for hitting during his pro debut and could move quickly," once he was officially included in the trade.
His agent, CAA's Ted Berry, told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal he believed, "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.'"
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo acknowledged, when he spoke to reporters, including the Washington Post's James Wagner, about the deal, that it was, "... 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," Rizzo said. "We’re going to trust each other and do what’s right by the player,'" though he didn't name Turner, in particular, as the PTBNL.
Major League Baseball has since amended the rule, as Fangraphs.com's Dave Cameron reported in May, so that players can be traded, "... beginning on the day following the conclusion of the World Series," instead of a year after they sign.
Turner, however, had to remain with the Padres until today.
San Diego assigned Turner to the Double-A San Antonio Missions at the start of the 2015 campaign, where he put up a .322/.385/.471 line with 13 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 11 stolen bases in 58 games and 254 plate appearances for before he was transferred to the Nationals today.
just found out @treavturner heading to Harrisburg tomorrow. Best of luck and thanks for the performance. Fun to watch him play— Missions Radio (@SAMissionsRadio) June 14, 2015
The Nationals made the completiion of the deal official this afternoon:
"We're happy to complete this trade and add an exceptional talent to our fold," Rizzo said in a press release on the deal today. "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."