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Top prospect Turner optioned to minors in flurry of Nats roster moves

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Top prospect Turner optioned to minors in flurry of Nats roster moves

It's now official that top prospect Trea Turner will not begin the 2016 season in the majors, as the shortstop was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday in a flurry of Nationals roster moves.

Reliever Rafael Martin was also optioned to Triple-A, while pitchers Aaron Laffey and Nick Masset, outfielder Tony Campana, infielder Scott Sizemore and catcher Jhonatan Solano were all sent to minor league spring training. That leaves 30 players in Nationals MLB spring camp.

Turner leaving the Nats solidifies Danny Espinosa as the favorite to start Opening Day at shortstop. Veteran Stephen Drew is also in camp, but he's expected to be on the Nats' bench.

Acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres in December of 2014, Turner is considered the future starter at shortstop, but the Nationals said over and over this offseason and throughout spring that they felt he needed more time in the minors. Signing Drew to a one-year free agent deal this offseason gave them enough depth to be more patient with Turner.

The big question now becomes when Turner will be back with the team, as he not only played well this spring, he outperformed Espinosa. Turner hit .257/.341/.429 with 10 runs, seven steals and five walks in 21 Grapefruit League games. Espinosa has hit just .111/.200/.222 in 12 games.

Espinosa is, however, coming off a strong bounceback 2015 season, one that convinced the Nationals he was capable of playing everyday this year, at least on a temporary basis. Espinosa hit 13 homers and held a .719 OPS in 118 games in 2015. He is also a standout on defense.

If Turner isn't ready to be a full-time big leaguer, he certainly looks close. The 22-year-old was named the 11th best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com this winter. He is one of the best young players in the Nationals' organization and is projected to start at shortstop for many years to come.

It may not be Turner's time quite yet, but it doesn't seem like it will take long before he rejoins the team in Washington this summer.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

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

It's 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.

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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.

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