clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Turner could provide shot of adrenaline to Nats offense

New, 50 comments

It's hard to image that the Washington National would call up their No. 2 prospect to sit for three days as an emergency player and send him back to the minors on Monday. There's no benefit to the player or the team in that scenario, so let's assume that's not the plan. What then?

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports, Trea Turner is in Cincinnati poised to join the Washington Nationals on Friday for the three-game series against the Reds, with Ryan Zimmerman headed to the three-day paternity list for the series. It's a long-awaited move, once it's formally announced tomorrow before game time.

Now, the question is whether Turner will start immediately, be used as a bench piece, or sit altogether and get sent back out when Zimmerman has to be activated.

It's hard to image that the Nats would call up Turner to sit for three days as an emergency player and send him back to the minors on Monday. There's no benefit to the player or the team in that scenario, so let's assume that's not the plan.

What then?

The Reds scheduled starter on Friday is a lefty, so Turner could get thrown right into the mix right away, with Clint Robinson at first base in place of Zimmerman. After that, Danny Espinosa could see both righties over the weekend, then the Nats have some decision-making to do.

One scenario that's being bandied about on social media is that Daniel Murphy could play first base over the weekend with Turner (or Espinosa) slotted at second. With Murphy hitting so well and playing passable defense at second, it's not likely the Nats ask their season MVP thus far to change position for a few days.

But Turner did play second for Syracuse on Wednesday and started there three times this season, so who knows?

This is also a good chance to get Robinson three consecutive days of at bats.

And really, this shouldn't be that hard anyway.

Espinosa's bat, despite his recent power surge, doesn't belong in a daily MLB lineup. As of today, the 29-year-old switch-hitter is slashing .200/.296/.341 overall and .143/.244/.314 against left-handed pitching.

Turner, on the other hand, slashed .310/.376/.472 in 222 plate appearances for Syracuse and was perfect in 17 stolen base attempts.

Espinosa obviously has the better arm at short, but the discrepancy in defensive prowess between the two isn't as exaggerated as some internet talent scouts would have you believe. Turner makes the routine plays and more than makes up for the rest with the bat.

Turner isn't going to come up and "save" the Nats. He doesn't need to. But he really didn't have anything left to gain playing in the minors and replacing Espinosa's bat in the eighth spot for now will provide a shot of adrenaline to the Nats offense, if for no other reason than doing a better job of turning the lineup over.

And if the Nats expected to use Turner at all this season, it makes sense for him to start seeing Major League pitching now, rather than wait until later during a pennant race.

I don't envision Turner taking over the leadoff spot right away from Ben Revere. The Nats made a solid investment to bring the career .290/.324/.345 hitter to D.C. and I think they'll exhaust every opportunity for Revere to get back on track from his miserable start.

But at least now they have options. And it's only a matter of time before Turner is starting everyday at shortstop and hitting leadoff for this team. It might not be this weekend, but it will be soon.