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How do Nats' Murphy and Drew signings affect Trea Turner?

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How do Nats' Murphy and Drew signings affect Trea Turner?

In signing Daniel Murphy and Stephen Drew to free agent deals, the Nationals have added veteran experience to their middle infield with two guys who have started for pennant-winning clubs in recent years. Murphy projects as the starting second baseman and will be in town for three years, while Drew has a one-year, prove-it contract with at least a spot on their bench guaranteed. The potential for a more prominent role is not out of the question.

General manager Mike Rizzo said at Murphy's introductory press conference that Drew, 32, is still good enough to start in the majors.

"Stephen Drew is capable of playing every day at both shortstop and second base. He’s capable of playing third base. He’s a great veteran player that’s very versatile. He swings the bat from the left side. I’ve got a track record and history with him. He’s a great kid. He’s loved by his teammates and a guy that should get a lot of at-bats for us at a multiple array of positions," Rizzo said.

The Murphy and Drew moves likely leave the young Trea Turner as the odd-man out, with Danny Espinosa seemingly having the leg up on the competition for starting shortstop. Turner could win that role in spring training, but if he doesn't, it's possible he could start the 2016 season in the minor leagues. 

Rizzo loves what Turner's future holds, but at this point prefers to have guys competing for starting spots in spring.

"We love competition. Trea is gonna come to spring training with the rest of the big leaguers and compete for a job at shortstop. We love the depth that we’ve created there. His talent level is extremely high and we’ve got extremely high hopes for him. We’re gonna develop him the way that he should be developed," Rizzo said.

Turner was acquired to be Ian Desmond's replacement at shortstop, but has also played some second base since joining the Nationals. Rizzo feels good about Turner at both positions.

"I feel very comfortable that he could play shortstop. I know he can play second base. I’ve seen a lot of shortstops in my time and he ranks right up there with all of them. He’s an extremely skilled player. He gets the balls. He makes the routine plays look routine and he seems to get you out at first base by a step," Rizzo explained.

One thing that could work in Turner's favor is his speed, as new manager Dusty Baker has highlighted the basepaths as one area of the Nationals that he would like to improve. Turner is among the fastest players in baseball, as proven by MLB's StatCast measurements from the 2015 season where he recorded a top speed of over 22 miles per hour.

Turner hopes that skill can help him make his case in spring.

"I like hearing that," he said in December. "Obviously I think it’s something that has kind of been lost a little bit and is starting to come back now with all the moneyball and stats and what not. I think it helps me and I think I can help out in that category."

[RELATED: Murphy wonders if postseason HRs were no fluke]

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Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm