The Nationals announced this morning that they’ve placed shortstop Trea Turner, right-hander Daniel Hudson, righty Austin Voth and catcher Alex Avila on the Covid-19-related injured list prior to today’s doubleheader. They’ve also reinstated catcher Yan Gomes and righty Tanner Rainey from the 10-day injured list in a pair of corresponding moves. Additionally, right-hander Andres Machado and infielder Luis Garcia were recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
Turner hitting the Covid IL was a foregone conclusion after he tested positive a couple days ago. It wasn’t yet clear which other players might need to be placed on the Covid-related list until today, however. To be clear, the Nationals did not reveal whether any of Hudson, Voth or Avila had tested positive or whether they were close contacts.
Turner and Hudson, notably, have emerged as a trade candidates as the Nationals’ recent slide in the standings has caused the team to pivot to sellers. Both players can still be traded while on the Covid-19 list, though their current status obviously complicates any potential discussions. A player who tests positive is subject to a minimum 10-day quarantine under MLB’s 2021 health and safety protocols; close contacts are subject to seven-day quarantines.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported yesterday that even in the wake of Turner’s positive test, he was still drawing interest (Twitter thread). At least two executives to whom Sherman spoke believed a trade involving Turner would still come together, though that’s still far from a given. Even prior to Tuesday’s positive test, Turner represented a difficult player to pry away. The All-Star shortstop is earning $13MM in 2021 and has another year of arbitration remaining, making him costly in terms of both salary and prospects. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden wrote this morning that a trade was unlikely, noting that several interested parties prefer to look at alternative options and wait until free agency this offseason to pursue one of the many high-end shortstops available in free agency (e.g. Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez, Trevor Story).
As for Hudson, he’s an impending free agent who has somewhat quietly been having the best season of his 12-year big league career. The 34-year-old, who closed out the World Series for the Nationals in 2019, has pitched to a 2.20 ERA with a career-high 37.5 percent strikeout rate and a 5.5 percent walk rate that nearly matches his 5.4 percent career-low. He’s earning $6MM in 2021, and while Hudson doesn’t carry the name value of some more notable targets like Craig Kimbrel or even his own teammate, Brad Hand, he’s among the best relief options on the market.