In some of the previous posts’ comments sections, I opined that I thought it would be “GM malpractice” to call up uber SS prospect Trea Turner at any point prior to mid April of next year. My general reasoning including any and all of the following points:
- the team finally had Ian Desmond hitting decently enough (consistently between about .250-.280 in 1/2/4 week samples going back a month).
- Danny Espinosa has been a revelation this year, increasing his slash lines across the board and as we speak posting a 99 OPS+ figure.
- Yunel Escobar being the 2nd most valuable hitter on the team, in addition to wordlessly changing positions as the Nats need dictates.
- Anthony Rendon finally back on the big club, even if he’s a shell of what he was last year, is still an excellent top-of-the-order MLB hitter.
- Given the wealth of middle infielders already on the roster (not even mentioning Wilmer Difo or Emmanuel Burriss both of whom have been used already this year in a backup capacity), why call him up to be a backup?
So, given that all four of these middle infield options are (finally) together, healthy and performing relatively decently, what possible rationale would there be to call up Turner??
Why would this team *possibly* want to prematurely start the service time clock on such a polished prospect, unless there was a REAL and ACTUAL need to call him up? By “real” and “actual” I mean that suddenly the team found itself without an able bodied short stop and found itself in a position where Turner would play full time.
No, that’s not what has happened. Turner was called up on 8/21/15. In the five games since, he has two garbage time PAs in a 10-3 loss on his debut and two pinch hit ABs. He’s played less than 3 whole innings in the field. What the hell is this team doing??
Matt Williams isn’t going to sit Desmond in favor of Turner. No way; we’ve seen *time and again* that Williams cow-tows to veterans, ensures that they hit in their preferred lineup spots and play their preferred positions even when evidence shows they’re in need of change. And even if Williams wanted to sit Desmond … he’s clearly going to play Espinosa in his place, another established vet with a track record and a good 2015 going. Where exactly is Turner going to play??
I agree whole heartedly with Jim Bowden‘s take: why did the Nats call him up to sit on the bench?? Something is fishy here. And we’ve harmed the long term benefit of the club in the process. Instead of waiting til next April to call him up, we’ve needlessly thrown away a year of his career in his prime by starting his service time clock way too soon, and for no reason. He’s not going to be impactful coming off the bench, he’s not going to play in place of the established regulars Desmond, Escobar and Rendon. He’s certainly not going to supplant Espinosa as the #1 middle infield option off the bench in case someone gets hurt. We don’t need a “designated runner” until we’re, you know, actually in the post-season (a concept that seems to be draining by the day thanks to middling losses to 2nd-division teams over and over).
I think this is a clear sign (as Bowden alludes to) that the Mike Rizzo–Matt Williams working relationship is shot and that this team is quickly heading down the drain of under performance. But as a long-term fan who thinks Turner’s value to this team is in the next incarnation of the squad, it really infuriates me to see him being wasted on the MLB bench for no reason, costing the team an extra year of his service when he hits his prime.