LONG TERM TURNER?:
Davey Martinez has been effusive in his praise of Washington Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner this season, talking often about Turner’s growth as a player and leader.
Going into play on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, the 27-year-old shortstop led the majors with a .368 AVG, was first in the big leagues in hits (with 57), fourth in OPS (1.053), sixth overall with a .632 SLG, tied for sixth in runs scored (32) and eighth in OBP (.421). That’s impressive, alright.
Turner went 1 for 4 with a run scored in Sunday’s finale with the Braves, which left him with a .365 AVG on the season.
It’s not just Martinez who has been impressed with Turner’s 2020 campaign. Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, who signed a long-term extension with the club on Saturday, talked in a Zoom call on Sunday morning about Turner’s development and how the shortstop’s success this season has affected the team’s thinking when it comes to locking up the infielder to his own long-term deal.
“He’s got a bright future I know that much, he’s going to make a lot of money. He’s a great player,” Rizzo said.
Turner, acquired as a Player To Be Named Later in a three-team deal with the San Diego Padres (who drafted the shortstop in the 1st Round in 2014) and Tampa Bay Rays, has a World Series ring already, and he’s having a heck of a season.
“He’s everything that our scouts said he was not only in the amateur draft, but when we made the trade for him, and again, he’s one of the guys — the type of ability players and makeup guys that you build franchises around.”
So, if he is that type of player, have the team and their shortstop talked about a long-term extension?
“We’ve had some discussions in Spring Training 1.0 this year,” Rizzo said, “... and [we] hope to figure out what the landscape looks like moving forward, but suffice it to say, he’s a guy that we want to build around and would love to have him here for a long time.”
KIEBOOM IN 2020?:
If the Nationals do lock Trea Turner up long-term, they could, potentially, have the left side of their infield set for years to come, provided that Carter Kieboom meets the expectations which came with his ranking as the top prospect in the organization heading into the 2020 season.
Kieboom, a 2016 1st Round pick by Washington, struggled at the start this year, going 10 for 50 (.200/.359/.200) with no extra base hits, 11 walks, and 20 strikeouts in 17 games and 64 plate appearances before the Nationals sent the recently-turned, 23-year-old down to their Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, Virginia on August 26th.
Ten days later, Kieboom returned to the club, and manager Davey Martinez said on Saturday that the plan is to send him out there every day to see what he can do.
Rizzo’s take on Kieboom’s season?
“I like where he’s come defensively,” the GM who drafted him said. “He’s really transformed himself from playing shortstop to third base, which is not an easy transition, especially in the big leagues. I‘ve had experience doing that and it’s tough to play third base in the big leagues.
“Not very many routine balls and it’s a real reaction position and you really have to get acquainted with the speed at the major league level at that position.
“Offensively, we felt that he was getting into bad habits, pressing getting into bad habits, so we felt — send him down for 10 days, he worked with Brian Daubach and Randy Knorr and those guys down in Fredericksburg. Dauber had him in Fresno last year, so he knew his swing intimately. We made a few adjustments with him with his hands and his positioning as a hitter, and when his ten days were up, we brought him back up here and he’ll play the rest of the way and I consider him a big part of our future and one of our core players that we’re going to build around.”