Trea Turner became the Washington Nationals' top infield prospect as soon as he was officially included as the Player to be Named Later in this winter's three-team, eleven-player deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres on Sunday.
In keeping with the since-changed rules Major League Baseball had regarding trading draft picks, a year after he agreed to a $2.9M signing bonus after the Padres selected him 13th overall in the 2014 MLB Draft, the 21-year-old infielder was officially included in the trade that also brought 2011 first-round pick Joe Ross to the Nationals from the Padres.
"We're happy to complete this trade and add an exceptional talent to our fold," Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said in a press release on the completed deal on Sunday.
"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."
Turner 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 at Double-A in the Padres' system before he was transferred to the Nats and assigned to Double-A Harrisburg, where he'll debut tonight.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote yesterday that Turner, "... looms as the Nationals’ shortstop of the future," with Ian Desmond likely headed for free agency this winter, though, the bow-tied reporter noted that, "... once-forgotten Danny Espinosa is an intriguing bridge, at the very least," until Turner's deemed ready.
In contrast to Rosenthal's conservative approach to when Turner might be playing short in D.C., one observer of the game, who also happens to be a former Nats' GM, went out on a limb with a bold prediction on the radio on Monday afternoon when he talked about Turner joining the Nats' organization:
Chris Lingebach, from 106.7 the FAN in D.C., got the full quote from Bowden on MLB Network Radio for an article he published yesterday:
"Trea Turner — and I’m going to make this bold prediction; you know I’ve done it before — will be the everyday shortstop for the Nationals by August 1. Okay? I’m going out there to say it. This kid’s got range to both sides. He’s got speed. He’s hitting .341 in the minors with like a 41 [percent] on-base. He is the guy to definitely watch."
When will Turner join the Nationals in the nation's capital? Who knows... what we do know is that he's playing short and hitting second in the Harrisburg Senators' lineup tonight in his organizational debut:
• We touched on Trea Turner's future in the organization, the Nationals' loss to the Rays and more on last night's edition of Nats Nightly: