The Washington Nationals have had a month to forget in July, as the team's struggles have turned them from potential buyers at the MLB trade deadline into definite sellers.
Over the past few days, one name that has surprisingly been tossed around in trade talks has been Nationals star shortstop Trea Turner. A report from Peter Gammons earlier this week said Washington is unwilling to pay the shortstop long-term, which is one reason the club has entertained the thought of dealing him at the deadline.
Speaking on the Sports Junkies on Wednesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo refuted the report that the Nats are not willing to sign Turner to a long-term deal.
"We've been in conversations with Trea on extensions for the last couple of spring trainings," Rizzo said. "So, it would be inaccurate."
Rizzo did admit that the organization has listened to offers and ideas thrown at it regarding Turner, but made it clear that it would take an offer they simply can't refuse in order for the team to trade him.
"So, you want to trade for Trea Turner? You have to come and get him, because he makes your team when you trade for him," Rizzo said. "It's got to be a deal we can't walk away from, one we can't refuse.
"I think Trea understands that. He knows the game as well as anybody I've ever been around," Rizzo continued. "He knows my affection for him and my affinity for his game, and for him and his wife and new baby. If something were to happen where we got an offer we couldn't refuse, he would understand it and it would be the best thing for the organization."
Turner, who made the first All-Star team of his career this summer, is set to be an unrestricted free agent next winter following the 2022 season. At just 28 years old, the shortstop still has several years of his prime ahead of him.
Some of the game's top shortstops -- Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story, among others -- are all set to be free agents this winter. Those three, along with the mammoth contract Francisco Lindor signed with the Mets this spring, will likely reset the shortstop market for years to come.
Turner, who is second among shortstops in fWAR and on his way to a potential second straight top-10 NL MVP finish, has the advantage of hitting the market one year later, a far smaller pool of talented shortstops and after the market has already been reset. For his sake, it makes sense to wait on signing an extension in order for him to maximize the amount of money he can get.
While Rizzo has fielded some offers for Turner, the general manager said he isn't close to trading Turner or any of his other players as of Wednesday morning. Reports are rampant that ace pitcher Max Scherzer could be dealt, however. Rizzo called Turner "our shortstop" and repeatedly said that the Nationals would have to be blown away with an offer to move him.
"He's our shortstop. He's one of the greatest trades I've ever made. He's turned out to be one of the great superstars in all of baseball," Rizzo said. "We're proud to have him here. He's awesome in the community, he's terrific in the clubhouse, a well-liked player by the front office and the staff and the management loves him. Again, he's one of the most impactful players in the game."