TODAY: As anticipated, the Nats have placed Turner on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. The club selected the contract of Adrian Sanchez to take his spot on the active roster.
Sanchez, 26, has been playing in the organization for 11 years. He’ll bring plenty of defensive versatility to the table — he has spent significant time at second, third, and short — but not much in the way of hitting ability. Sanchez carries a .259/.312/.384 slash line with 21 steals over 280 plate appearances on the year, mostly of them coming at Triple-A.
To open a 40-man spot, the Nationals moved lefty Sammy Solis to the 60-day DL. That’s just a formality, as he has already been out for that span. It seems reasonably likely that Sanchez will function as a little-used bench piece until there’s a need for his roster spot.
YESTERDAY: Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, who was hit by a pitch in tonight’s game against the Cubs, has been diagnosed with a broken right wrist, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (on Twitter). There’s no timetable for a return to the roster at this point, she adds.
Suffice it to say, the loss of Turner for any stretch of time is a crushing blow to the Nationals, although the Nats have a large enough lead in the NL East (nine games, at present) to weather an absence for the 23-year-old star. That said, Turner has batted .279/.324/.422 with seven homers and an outrageous 35 stolen bases in 315 plate appearances this season, and he’s turned in roughly average defense at shortstop as well. Subtracting that level of output from any roster is a tough pill to swallow.
In the short term, the Nats can turn to veteran Stephen Drew and rookie Wilmer Difo and entrust that pair with the bulk of the playing time at shortstop. The 34-year-old Drew has somewhat quietly been excellent for the Nationals across the past two seasons, hitting at a combined .286/.347/.515 in an admittedly small sample of 225 plate appearances. Just 19 of those plate appearances have come against left-handed pitching, so Drew would ideally benefit from a platoon partner. The switch-hitting Difo can provide that; while he’s struggled against lefties in a tiny sample of 37 plate appearances, Difo hit left-handed pitching considerably better than right-handed pitching in the minors in 2015-16.
There will, of course, be some options available for the Nationals to pursue on the trade market. Zack Cozart stands out as the most logical candidate, as the 32-year-old has taken his offensive game to a new level in 2017 and paired it with his usual brand of defensive wizardry. Cozart is a free agent at season’s end, and the rebuilding Reds will undoubtedly be open to moving him once he returns from a much more minor DL stint of his own (for a strained quadriceps). Other available options for the Nats include Jed Lowrie of the Athletics and Eduardo Nunez of the Giants. Looking across the division, Asdrubal Cabrera recently expressed frustration with the Mets and suggested that he’d prefer a trade, but he’s since walked those comments back a bit (and it’s not clear if the two division rivals would be able to line up on a trade anyhow).