The trade deadline’s biggest swap saw Max Scherzer and Trea Turner sent to the Dodgers in exchange for four prospects, officially marking the end of an era for the Nationals. Due to a positive COVID-19 test and a subsequent quarantine, Turner didn’t make his Dodgers debut until yesterday, and didn’t officially meet with the media (including Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post) until today, and the shortstop shared some details about the end of his time in D.C.
For starters, Turner confirmed reports that the Nats hadn’t made him a new extension offer since their earlier talks concluded in March 2020. Last week, Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo said talks were being held off due to a request from Turner and his CAA Sports representatives, as Turner’s camp preferred to see how this winter’s free agent shortstop class reset market expectations. (Turner himself isn’t scheduled for free agency until after the 2022 season.)
However, Turner had a different version of events, telling reporters “I said I would talk about an extension whenever and waited for that to happen, and it didn’t happen. So I’ve been told a lot of things over the last two years and, for me, actions speak louder than words. That’s kind of in the past now, it’s over with, and excited to start a new chapter.”
Back in March, Rizzo said the Nats were planning to issue long-term extension offers to both Turner and Juan Soto, yet it appears nothing was sent in Turner’s direction. It could be that the club did plan to re-engage with Turner’s agents at some point, except the team’s slide down the standings in July then altered Washington’s plans for both the short- and long-term. Four days prior to the trade deadline, Peter Gammons reported that Nationals ownership wasn’t planning to retain Turner on an extension, which kicked the rumor mill into high gear.
Not only did the Nats clean house and move most of their players signed only through 2021, the fire sale also extended to players with slightly more team control. Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Will Harris are now the only Nationals on guaranteed money for 2022, and the Nats now seem to be aiming towards a somewhat larger-scale retrenching around Soto (controlled via arbitration through 2024) as their cornerstone.
That made Turner expendable, and adding him along with Scherzer resulted in a nice haul of prospects from Los Angeles.The next interesting wrinkle will be to see how extension talks might develop between Turner and the Dodgers during the 2021-22 offseason. Turner’s presence gives the Dodgers a logical replacement if Corey Seager leaves in free agency this winter, and as we’ve seen with several notable names (i.e. Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner), the Dodgers have been aggressive in locking up players they see as major building blocks.