Nationals trade Souza, land potential shortstop of the future in Turner


Sep 28, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder

Steven Souza

(21) makes a diving catch for the final out of the game against the Miami Marlins to secure Washington Nationals starting pitcher

Jordan Zimmermann

(27) no hitter at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit:

Brad Mills


According to multiple reports Wednesday afternoon, the Nationals traded outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and left-handed pitching prospect Travis Ott to the Rays in an 11-player, three-team deal that also included the Padres. In return, the Nationals land a potential shortstop of the future in Trea Turner and right-handed pitching prospect Joe Ross from the Padres.

The deal was centered around 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers, whom the Rays traded to the Padres. While the Padres’ acquisition of Myers will get most of the headlines, perhaps the biggest winners in this deal were the Nationals, who filled a major organizational hole without compromising their major league core.

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According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the deal is done pending physicals for all players involved.

In Turner – the 13th overall pick of the 2014 First Year Player Draft – the Nationals get an athletic shortstop who has the potential to become a superstar at the big league level. The 21-year-old infielder still has a long way to go, but has already shown his immense talent in his short professional career.

The Padres drafted Turner after he had played at North Carolina State for three years and the shortstop immediately began his climb up San Diego’s farm system. Turner was promoted from short-season Eugene to Class A Fort Wayne after just 23 games and continued to dominate at Fort Wayne, where he posted a .369/.447./529 line with four home runs, 14 doubles and 14 stolen bases.

Prior to the trade, Turner was considered by to be the Padres’ No. 5 prospect.

While the Nationals have always had a strong farm system, one position of weakness in recent years has been shortstop. And with Ian Desmond poised to a become free agent next winter, the Nationals needed to make a move to ensure that there was someone to take Desmond’s place if he were to walk next offseason.

With today’s deal, general manager Mike Rizzo not only addressed one of the team’s most pressing needs, but he also managed to do it without trading any of the team’s major league stars – namely starters Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister.

Zimmermann and Fister are both scheduled to hit free agency after the 2015 season and it has been rumored for weeks that the Nationals were willing to trade one or both of them to acquire a second baseman and/or a young shortstop. In typical Rizzo-style, the GM somehow managed to accomplish his goal without touching either player.

Instead, the Nationals lose Souza, who will always be remembered by Nationals fans for his amazing catch that preserved Zimmermann’s no-hitter on the last day of the regular season. Souza is a solid player who may develop into a successful major league outfielder, but he did not fit into the team’s future plans as the outfield is likely set for years.

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With the deal, the Nationals also receive Ross, who posted a 3.92 ERA with 106 strikeouts in  122 1/3 combined innings between Class A Lake Elsinore and AA San Antonio in 2014.

The second player the Nationals sent to the Rays is Ott, who went 1-4 with a 3.93 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 55 innings between short-season Auburn and Class A Hagerstown last season.

For weeks the Nationals have reportedly come close to making several deals that would’ve broken up a part of the team’s core in hopes of acquiring future assets. With today’s deal, the Nationals secured a key position for the future without hurting their chances to compete in 2015. This is undoubtedly a great trade for the Nationals, and one that nobody expected to happen. But with Rizzo at the helm, that’s usually how things go.