In an attempt to halt their free fall from the playoff picture the Nationals have made an unexpected move, calling up 22-year-old shortstop prospect Trea Turner from Triple-A.
Turner was the Padres’ first-round draft pick in 2013 and came to the Nationals this offseason in the big three-team deal that also involved the Rays. Going into the season he ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect and he’s boosted his stock by hitting .322 with eight homers and an .828 OPS in 116 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
Turner has been a full-time shortstop in the minors, which is noteworthy because the Nationals have former All-Star Ian Desmond there. Desmond is an impending free agent having a bad season with a .227 batting average and .663 OPS in 116 games. However, twice this week the Nationals had Turner play second base at Triple-A, suggesting he could instead take the spot of Danny Espinosa.
Turner is one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball and a long-term building block, but it’ll be interesting to see where and how often he plays for the Nationals down the stretch.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.