For right now, the Washington Nationals will miss Trea Turner. On Monday, the young shortstop was added to the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hamstring injury in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Coming into this season, Turner was—and still is—expected to follow through on his breakout debut in 2016. Those expectations, combined with his move back to shortstop and placement atop the Nationals’ lineup, make Turner one of the more intriguing players on the team/
Even when factoring in his 3-for-19 (.158) start over his first five games—an extremely limited sample size—Turner is still a player that will make the Nationals better when healthy. Any injury is surely a loss for the Nationals, but the team appears to be hoping that this injury only sidelines Turner for a very short time.
Changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between MLB and the Players Association now allow for 10-day DL stints as an alternative to the traditional 15 days. As Chelsea Janes at The Washington Post has explained, the option of a shorter stint likely factored into the decision to sideline Turner. Turner was placed on the DL retroactive to Sunday, and in the stretch of dates he is slated to miss includes two off days.
The change to the CBA may benefit the Nationals over the long run, by possibly helping to ensure that Turner does not return before he is ready. Some of the decisions the club itself made over the offseason, however, are also coming into play.
In past years, the loss of a lead-off hitter could have changed the complexion of the Nationals’ lineup, but the arrival of centerfielder Adam Eaton reverses that trend. Eaton has proven to be a capable lead-off hitter in the past, and should be more than up to the task of taking over the top spot in the batting order while Turner is out.
The other factor that should help the Nationals is how the team has built its bench. Stephen Drew was re-signed over the offseason, and with Wilmer Difo gives the club at least two middle infield options off of its bench. The veteran Drew started for the Nationals on Sunday and Monday, and figures to draw the majority of the playing time at shortstop in Turner’s absence. The speedier Difo, however, could get his share of at-bats before Turner returns.
When a player like Trea Turner goes down, it has the chance to adversely affect a team. The Nationals will surely miss him while he is out, but their depth and what will hopefully be a short DL stint for Turner should minimize any troubles they have until he returns.Tags: Nationals, Nats, Trea Turner, Washington Nationals