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Nationals prospect spotlight: Trea Turner

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Nationals prospect spotlight: Trea Turner

Age on Opening Day 2016: 22

How acquired: Trade with Padres, Dec. 2014

Position: Infielder

Prospect Rank: No. 2 in Nats' org. (Baseball America)

2015 Level/Team: AA-San Antonio (Padres), AA-Harrisburg, AAA-Syracuse, MLB-Nationals

2015 Stats: (minors) 116 G, 500 PA, 454 AB, 68 R, 146 H, 24 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 54 RBI, 29 SB, 6 CS, 38 BB, 97 SO, .322 BA, .370 OBP, .458 SLG, .828 OPS / (majors) 27 G, 44 PA, 40 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS, 4 BB, 12 SO, .225 BA, .295 OBP, .325 SLG, .620 OPS

2015 Analysis: The 2015 season was about as unusual as it gets for Trea Turner. The former first round pick had to spend the first half of the season in the Padres organization, even after getting traded to Washington in a three-team deal in December. The reason was a now-extinct rule that forced teams to keep draft picks for a full year before trading them. So, until June, Turner was considered a PTNBL for the Nationals while playing for the Double-A San Antonio Missions.

Turner did well there and then finally joined the Nationals midseason to make his Harrisburg Senators debut on June 16. He would then last only 10 games there before getting promoted to Triple-A Syracuse, where he also thrived. Across 116 games with three minor league affiliates, Turner hit .322 with 29 steals and earned himself an early call-up to the majors with the Nationals in August.

Turner played sparingly with the Nationals, especially at first, but ended up appearing in 27 total games. He flashed an ability to hit for contact and blazing speed, which could help transform the Nats' lineup next season if utilized correctly.

2016 Outlook: Turner didn't play a lot in 2015, but he laid a nice foundation for a bigger role in 2016. And now that Ian Desmond is expected to leave in free agency, an opening may be there for Turner to become a starting middle infielder for the Nationals.

Whether Turner makes the team out of spring is undetermined at this point. They still have a bit of a logjam with Danny Espinosa coming off a strong year, Wilmer Difo in the mix and questions as to where Yunel Escobar and Anthony Rendon will play. The Nats could bring Turner to Washington out of spring, or they could choose to start Espinosa and give Turner some more seasoning at Triple-A.

That said, right now it would seem Turner's odds of making the Opening Day roster are good. He was acquired to replace Desmond and would arguably give the Nats their best lineup, whether he plays at shortstop or at second base.

A lot could also depend on what the Nationals do this offseason. If they decide to sell high on Escobar and trade him this winter, that would open up spots for both Turner and Espinosa to start. If they move forward with what they currently have, then Turner will be likely be battling Espinosa for a starting job in spring and ultimately play plenty of games, however they decide to use him.

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Ex-Oriole Manny Machado homers off ex-National Gio Gonzalez in NLCS Game 1

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USA Today Sports

Ex-Oriole Manny Machado homers off ex-National Gio Gonzalez in NLCS Game 1

Sure, the Nationals and Orioles didn't make the playoffs, but that didn't stop a "Battle of the Beltways" moment from breaking out during NLCS Game 1.

Ex-National Gio Gonzalez started the game for the Brewers. In the second inning, ex-Oriole Manny Machado stepped to the plate for the Dodgers.

Here's what happened next:

If you squint, you can imagine the ball flying into the Nationals Park bullpen or the Camden Yards bleachers. 

And in case you're wondering, we have indeed entered the Twilight Zone. 

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Nationals get offseason started by acquiring righty reliever Kyle Barraclough from Marlins

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USA Today Sports

Nationals get offseason started by acquiring righty reliever Kyle Barraclough from Marlins

The Washington Nationals picked up righty reliever Kyle Barraclough from Miami in their first offseason move to rebuild the bullpen.

The Nationals said Wednesday that they gave the Marlins international slot value in the deal.

The hard-throwing Barraclough went 1-6 with 4.20 ERA and 10 saves in 17 chances, with 61 appearances this year. He allowed one hit in 36 at-bats in June, when he was chosen NL reliever of the month, but struggled with his command the rest of the season.

Barraclough's ERA ballooned to 10.24 over his final 24 games and he lost the Marlins closer's job.

He has a career ERA of 3.21 with 279 strikeouts and 134 walks in 218 2/3 innings over four seasons, all with Miami.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo is in need of relievers after jettisoning Shawn Kelley and Brandon Kintzler late this season.

The deal helps the Marlins in their pursuit of top international free-agent Victor Victor Mesa, a Cuban outfielder who tried out for major league scouts at Marlins Park last week.

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