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Updated: Nats call up Trea Turner

Aug 21, 2015, 5:50 PM EDT


[Updated: 5:50 p.m.]

Needing a right-handed bat for their bench and a boost for the pennant race, the Nationals have called up top prospect Trea Turner on the first day of a long homestand.

Bench player Tyler Moore was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left ankle sprain as the corresponding move. The team moved reliever Aaron Barrett (right elbow strain) to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

Turner, 22, is considered the top position player prospect in the organization. A first round pick in 2014, the shortstop joined the Nationals this past offseason in a trade with the San Diego Padres.

Turner received the unexpected news on Thursday when Syracuse Chiefs manager Billy Gardner called him. Turner, however, didn’t pick up the first time as he didn’t recognize the number – he had not saved it in his phone – and he was in the middle of a movie.

Turner was with his teammates at a theater on their off-day watching the movie ‘Straight Outta Compton.’ Who knew the nickname ‘Trea Day’ that Nats fans had used all season would be so prescient?

When Gardner called a second time, Turner walked outside to pick it up.

“He actually just asked me if I’ve ever been to Washington, D.C. before and let me know I was going back there because I had visited once when I was younger. We were watching the new movie ‘Straight Outta Compton.’ It was actually a very good movie, but it made it a little bit better getting that news,” he said.

Turner began the season in the Padres’ organization before jumping to the Nationals in June due to a now-extinct rule that prevented players from getting traded within a year after they were drafted. Despite all of that, he has thrived this season with a .322 average, eight homers and 54 RBI in 116 total minor league games.

After leaving Double-A San Antonio, a Padres affiliate, Turner joined the Double-A Harrisburg Senators and hit .359 in 10 games. The Nats then promoted him to Triple-A Syracuse where he batted .314 with three homers, 15 RBI, 31 runs and 14 steals in 48 games.

Now he is in the majors at just 22 years old.

“The last 24 hours have been wild, obviously. Getting the news and having to tell my parents, which was obviously a great feeling. My girlfriend and all that. It’s been wild. Dream come true and I’m just trying to enjoy every moment of it,” he said.

Turner had worked exclusively at shortstop in his minor league career until this week when the Nats played him twice at second base. He now joins a Nationals roster with a crowded group of infielders that already includes Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Yunel Escobar and Anthony Rendon.

Turner doesn’t know yet what his role will be with the Nats, but is prepared for whatever they ask.

“They just told me to get ready and kind of approach every game like I would anywhere else. I’m just trying to do whatever I can, whatever they need me to. If it’s pinch-running, defense, it doesn’t matter to me. If I get a start here and there, that’s alright. Whatever they need me to,” he said.

“We’re not expecting to be the savior of the offense or the savior of the ball club,” GM Mike Rizzo said. “We just want him to do what he does his best, add his skill set to Matt Williams’ arsenal of tools to win baseball games.”

Turner has very little experience playing second base, but did take grounders on the field before Friday’s game to practice. Both he and the Nats feel comfortable with him playing at second if the situation arises.

“It’s different,” he said. “But I trust myself to do any of it; outfield, infield, whatever. You gotta have confidence in it and, like I said, you gotta prepare and get out there and make sure you’re ready for the moment. I’ll try to be out there and work on it as much as I can.”

Ian Desmond, in particular, could be most affected in the long-term by Turner’s presence on the roster. Desmond is in the final year of his contract and Turner is projected as the future shortstop in the event the veteran leaves in free agency.

Desmond was asked about that dynamic on Friday and said he wishes Turner nothing but the best.

“Being a middle infielder, it’s like a fraternity so anytime another guy gets called up you’re obviously happy for him,” he said. “This is about winning right now. There’s no personal agendas here. This is about the Nationals and getting Ws and that’s got to be our focus.”

Turner said a host of his closest friends and family members will travel to Washington in anticipation of his MLB debut.

“I actually have a lot of people, a lot more than I thought. A lot of friends, college coach, parents, girlfriend, maybe some aunts and uncles. I’m not even sure right now, but a lot of people are coming. It makes me feel good because they’re probably just as excited as I am and they’ve always wanted to experience this with me, so I’m glad they get the chance,” he said.

The Nationals acquired Turner in a three-team deal that sent outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Nats also received starting pitcher Joe Ross in the Dec. 19 trade.

With Ross already finding success in the majors, and with Turner now set to debut, the trade looks very good for the Nationals in retrospect.

“A very good trade for us,” Matt Williams said. “Key guys in key positions potentially for us that help us win. Those are very talented young men.”



  1. micksback1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    very interesting move, did not expect this until Sept 1.

  2. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Oh, man. That’s going to cost, down the road, but looking forward to seeing the kid!!! Go, NATS!

  3. tcostant - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    I was about to post the same:

    Barrett moving to 60 Day DL, I had no idea that he was that hurt.

  4. bc4314 - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Wow, I guess there is some urgency in the organization. Surprising move.

  5. jfmii - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    Hope he plays more than Burriss did. But how DOES he get more time? For whom?

    • kiawah51 - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:13 PM

      lets be serious, for whom, how about desmond or rendon at this point

      • jfmii - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:13 PM

        I would not be opposed

      • bowdenball - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:30 PM

        You want a 22 year old rookie to take playing time from a guy who is hitting .274/.336/.530 since the All-Star Break? I’ve seen some bad ideas in the comments section on this here web site but that might just take the cake.

        As for Rendon, the Nats already have someone who is taking his playing time. His name is Danny Espinosa and he’s second on the team in WAR. Trea Turner’s not going to outplay him.

      • chaz11963 - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:36 PM

        Could be a move to give Danny some time in LF.

    • bowdenball - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:38 PM


      That’s an interesting idea, and this move would make a lot more sense to me if they’re going to start doing that a couple days a week or in the late innings.

    • jd - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:39 PM


      I agree with you. It’s a curious move. You don’t think they brought him up just too pinch run. Do you? Service time consideration would have you think they would wait until next May.

      • Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:59 PM

        No way did they burn an option on a guy with his kind of ceiling to give him occasional pinch running duty. This is a showing that they are belatedly getting more all in on 2015.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM

        A couple of things:

        (1) they haven’t burned an option on Turner. They only burn an option if they send him down. They will almost certainly burn one (of three) options next Spring to hold off his service clock. Which leads to

        (2) Because service time is calculated by day, not by calendar year, they haven’t punted a year of team control by bringing him up – if he stays on the team the rest of the season he will have 45 service days. The impact is that, NEXT season, his “Harper/Bryant” day (when the team can call him up w/o losing the additional year of control) will be around June 8, not around April 21.

  6. hersheyman - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    Its about bloody time!!!!!

  7. bowdenball - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:37 PM

    Here’s a little something to keep in mind before you declare Trea Turner the answer to the Nats problems:

    Anthony Rendon, who was universally considered a better hitting prospect than Turner and put up better minor league numbers, hit .265/.329/.396 in his rookie season. You’d have to think that would be Turner’s ceiling in the bigs.

    Yunel Escobar is outpacing those numbers. Espinosa is basically matching them. Yes, Desmond is under them, but I posted his post-ASB numbers above for consideration.

  8. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:39 PM

    He’ll be a pinch runner, pinch hitter, etc. That’ll be his role, plus getting acclimatized to major-league life, and the speed of the game.

    • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:40 PM

      Unless Rendon is hurt and playing through something. Then he could have a larger role.

      • jd - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:43 PM

        I don’t really understand this move especially considering Span will be here in a few days.

      • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:55 PM

        @jd, neither do I, since it starts his clock. Not like Rizzo to be impulsive. That’s why I suspect Rendon is still hurt (that and him not hitting).

      • Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:02 PM

        And maybe they want to give Escobar more rest then he’s gotten (virtually none), given how badly nicked up he is.

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:00 PM

      I can’t believe they would burn an option on a guy with his kind of ceiling to give him occasional pinch running duty. This is a showing that they are belatedly getting more all in on 2015.

      • Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:30 PM

        Eh, meant service clock not burning an option.

        Not worth it to bring him up now for him not to start at least occasionally.

  9. Danny - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    What’s the point in wasting service time?

  10. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    Wow, I did not see that coming.

  11. topnat - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    Not likely Turner will be going back and forth to the minors enough to use up many options. He’s a major league talent and will be a starter next year if not before this season is over. Lets not forget all the players on the 25 have contributed to this team being 4 back. No one should have a secure position. The best players play. Thats how the best teams do business ( cards, giants )

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:28 PM

      sorry, I meant service clock, not burning an option.

      And that is a very relevant marginal cost-benefit calculation that had better have enough current upside to be worth it, which they can’t get by using him as a pinch runner.

  12. letswin3 - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:31 PM

    I’ll read all of your comments in a few minutes, but first let me offer a little speculation. It would only be 10 days to save starting the clock on Trea’s arbitration trail, so what’s the hurry? The injured players are starting to make much better contact, Desi is collecting hits again and there are no new position player injuries. Could it be a big trade involving an existing position player? I wouldn’t even think about this possibility if it wasn’t August 21st.

    Oh yeah, forgot to mention … I love this kid, particularly the speed element that he brings to the club.

  13. chuckwagon1111 - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:07 PM


    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:11 PM

      Be careful what you ask for. I’m guessing the most likely way he’d be freed would be a DFA/unconditional release.

  14. raleighnat - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    I’m all about some Trea Turner but I don’t understand how he gets playing time and don’t see the necessity. Even if someone is hurt, wouldn’t Espinosa slot in as the every day? I don’t get it.

  15. nelliefox - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:28 PM

    These are interesting posts but maybe Rizzo simply thinks that Turner is the best alternative for the bench to replace Moore. He offers Williams some options. I see no one else in the organization better. I admit that MW ‘s approach is so passive that my guess is he will take advantage of Turner’s skills.

    So he loses his last week or two at AAA. Even if he sits, it is good experience. As for service time, I would imagine Rizzo knows his options.

  16. nelliefox - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    Sorry. Meant to say MW’s approach is passive that how will not take advantage…

    • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:57 PM

      Did not bring him up to pinch run with 4 bench guys.

  17. rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:58 PM

    We need an OF to replace Jason late in a game we are ahead.

  18. Drew - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:18 PM

    What a classy comment by Desmond.

    Just terrific.

  19. scnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:32 PM

    I have to think, all in all, this is a mistake. But people who make more then meh make the decisions. Welcome to DC double T.

  20. tcostant - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:37 PM

    You guys are insane. Turner will play five times a week, with various guys getting rest. They did not do this to sit him on the bench.

  21. abqnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    I didn’t see this so soon. Maybe Rendon took a step back in recovery. Turner is such a good long term prospect I wouldn’t expect this unless Arizona thinks he needs him.

    Congrats, good luck and enjoy!





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