The Washington Nationals’ roster has been the subject of many hours’ worth of debate this MLB season, and those talks have only increased as the July 30 trade deadline approaches. Trea Turner, superstar shortstop for the Nats, has been at the center of those discussions, specifically whether or not the Nats would be willing to part with the 28-year-old.
Jim Bowden served as the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals general manager from 2004 to 2009, so he knows the ins and outs of what goes into those personnel decisions. He doesn't think Washington will be able to bid farewell to Turner because of what the acquisition of Turner will cost whoever snags him.
“Let’s keep in mind that the Nationals control Turner for one more year after this year, and then he’s a free agent. Let’s also keep in mind what Francisco Lindor got and what Fernando Tatis got, and let’s also understand that Turner is a better player than Lindor and it’s not even close,” Bowden said on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny show Tuesday. Lindor and Tatis signed contracts averaging $340 million this past offseason. “So that gives you an idea how much it’s gonna cost, and this is the same organization that let Anthony Rendon go when it was his turn for a free agency that was up.”
Current Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was in the unenviable spot of essentially deciding whether to keep third baseman Rendon or ace Stephen Strasburg after the 2019 World Series title. He went with Strasburg. So, will Washington trade Turner and continue the trend of letting position players walk? Still no, because of the shortstop market.
“So are they gonna trade him between now and Friday? I honestly don’t think so, Grant and Danny, because I don’t think they’re gonna get the kind of offer it would take to move him. And the reason for that is, if you’re a team that needs a shortstop, all you gotta do is wait two months and Corey Seager and Javier Baez and Carlos Correa and Marcus Semien are gonna be sitting there for you, and you don’t have to trade anything for them,” Bowden said.
Waiting it out seems to be the smart move for teams in need of a shortstop. If they trade for Turner, they only have him locked up through next year. If they wait until this offseason, they can sign one of the players Bowden mentioned without giving up anybody on their current roster.
“So for what Mike Rizzo and the Nationals want for Turner, I think the asking price is so [high]…but I think it’s to the point where you’re not getting that between now and Friday,” Bowden said. “There’s only so much money you can spend, right? I mean teams can’t just go drop $300 million on seven guys.”
If Bowden’s prediction rings true, Turner will be wearing Nats colors at least through the end of this campaign. He’s currently fifth in the majors with a .320 batting average, and with how injury-depleted Washington’s bats are right now, having a guy like Turner around certainly helps.