WASHINGTON -- The Nationals were part of a three-team, 11-player trade with the Rays and Padres on Wednesday evening, a deal that was finalized Friday morning.
Washington acquired right-hander Joe Ross and a player to be named from the Padres -- it is believed that shortstop Trea Turner is that player -- and the Nationals sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and left-hander Travis Ott to the Rays.
In this same deal, the Padres acquired outfielder Wil Myers, pitchers Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo, and catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Rays. The Padres also sent catcher Rene Rivera, right-hander Burch Smith and first baseman Jake Bauers to Tampa Bay.
Turner, the Padres' first-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, could someday be Ian Desmond's replacement at shortstop. In his first year in pro ball, he hit a combined .323 with five home runs and 24 RBIs. Turner was also on the taxi squad for the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League and hit .400 (14-for-35) with five RBIs in nine games. Because he was drafted this past June, he can't be traded until June of 2015. That means he will go to Spring Training and start the regular season with San Diego.
General manager Mike Rizzo declined to name Turner as the player to be named. But Rizzo did say that the Nationals will monitor the player from afar.
"It's a unique situation that hasn't been done before," Rizzo said. "I've never done it before. I've been doing this thing for a long time. [The Nationals and Padres] are going to trust each other and do what's right by the player and we'll monitor that player quite closely and trust that the Padres will do right by him and do the right thing."
One rival talent evaluator noted some similarities between Turner and Desmond. The evaluator predicts that Turner will be a solid defender with the ability to drive in runs. Unlike Desmond, however, Turner is expected to be a top-of-the-order bat.
By getting Ross, the Nationals added to their pitching depth. The younger brother of Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, Joe is a lanky pitcher who has a fastball that is clocked in the low to mid-90s, and he induces a lot of ground-ball outs. He went a combined 10-6 with a 3.92 ERA for Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio and could be in the middle of the Nationals' rotation in a couple of years.
"He is the type of pitcher that we coveted," Rizzo said. "He is a big, physical right-handed pitcher. He has good stuff, throws hard and he has a good assortment of pitches. We see two plus-plus pitches at present with the third pitch, the changeup, that had vast improvement over the second half of last year. We feel with our player development system, especially with our pitching guys here, that, too, will be an above-average pitch for him. We think he is going to be a good performer for us in the near future."
As for Souza, he is best known for saving Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter on the final day of the 2014 season after entering the game in the bottom of the ninth inning as a defensive replacement for left fielder Ryan Zimmerman. With two outs, the Marlins' Christian Yelich stepped to the plate and hit a 2-1 pitch toward left-center. Center fielder Michael Taylor knew he didn't have a chance to catch the ball, but there was Souza, who dove and caught the ball like a wide receiver.
The Nationals' Minor League Player of the Year this past season, Souza should be able to add power to the Rays' lineup.
Rizzo said several teams inquired about Souza. At first, Rizzo said no to the offers, but kept an open mind and agreed to the deal Wednesday.
"It was tough to make the phone call when we told him he was traded," Rizzo said. "It was a very emotional call between Steven and I because we have gone through a lot of things together. I'm excited about the opportunity he is going to get in Tampa."
Ott played for Class A Hagerstown and Auburn and went a combined 1-4 with a 3.93 ERA. He was selected in the 25th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
Myers was the key to this trade. The Padres needed to improve their offense, and Myers can provide power if he stays healthy after an injury-riddled 2014. In 87 games, he hit .222 with six home runs and 35 RBIs. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2013 after recording a .293 batting average with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs.