Washington Nationals: Trea Turner Makes His Return To D.C. Tonight
By Max Rayman
A key piece to two NL East titles and a World Series title, Trea Turner finally makes his much-anticipated return to Nationals Park.
On July 30th, 2021, the Washington Nationals reminded their fanbase that baseball was a business — shipping out Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers in a bittersweet move. Sitting at 48-55 and fourth in the division, Mike Rizzo and company stripped their roster to the bone despite not being even two years removed from winning the 2019 World Series.
Trading Scherzer was a no-brainer — he was on an expiring contract and unlikely to re-sign in the offseason. But adding Turner to the mix despite having a year and a half left on his contract allowed the Nats to add two top 100 prospects to their farm.
The fan base did not take the decision for the firesale lightly, letting their voices be heard on social media. Yet, the decision to embrace a reboot was long overdue. Washington won the 2019 World Series with the oldest roster in baseball and had no reinforcements on the way, having boasted the worst farm system in baseball.
After losing Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon in free agency, many were surprised that the Nats were unable to come to an extension with Turner. Since making his MLB debut with the Nats in 2015, he had been one of their most consistent players. In his six and a half years with the team, he slashed .300/.356/.486, with 93 homers, 306 RBIs, and an OPS of .842. He also added 192 stolen bases, adding to his versatility.
At the time of the trade, Trea Turner was caught off-guard, having believed a deal would eventually be worked out and he would stay in D.C. for the foreseeable future. Instead, he was re-introduced to the harsh reality of the business side of sports.
Now a year later, Turner makes his return to D.C. with the Dodgers for a three-game series. The 28-year-old doesn’t have any lingering hostility to his former home, having an open conversation with The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya.
"“I think everything I said before was true,” Turner said. “I thought I’d be there. But I think it is what it is. I’m not mad about it. I thought I’d be with the Padres for a long time (before they traded him in 2014), too. In the moment, based on the things, situation and what I was told and how I felt and whatnot, I thought it would last. But that’s not always the case.“I’m really enjoying it here. I think the best things are always true and I try to be honest, and I was. I feel good here (in Los Angeles), and I’m glad everything worked out.”"
His comments bear merit, with the Dodgers once again favorites to win the World Series while the Nats are competing with the Cincinnati Reds for the worst record in the majors. After only reaching the NLCS once with the Nats, Turner made it that far in his first year with the Dodgers, losing last year to the Braves in six games.
In the last year of his contract, a reunion between the Nats and Turner isn’t out of the realm of possibility.