The assumed in no way genuinely crossed Trea Turner’s mind.
As he drove home from Philadelphia very last July, compelled into self-isolation after testing beneficial for COVID-19 during a sequence against the Phillies, Turner didn’t know that he experienced just played his last sport for the Washington Nationals.
Considerably less than a week absent from final year’s trade deadline, the All-Star hadn’t critically entertained the risk he’d be traded by the only crew he’d played for in his MLB vocation.
“I never ever considered it would occur,” Turner explained.
Practically a calendar year later, Turner was welcomed back again to Washington as a visitor Monday night time, returning to Nationals Park with the Dodgers for the very first time since they acquired him in a blockbuster deal very last July.
Turner was reflective in his homecoming, if not emotionally sentimental.
He recalled highlights of his Nationals’ tenure — moments huge, predominantly the team’s 2019 World Series championship, and little, this sort of as day by day drives to the ballpark or annual visits to spring instruction.
He caught up with previous coaches and teammates. He tipped his cap to the group during a pregame video clip tribute.
“It’s enjoyment reminiscing, watching all these movies, seeing the superior memories they applied up there,” Turner stated afterward. “It’s so prolonged back, it feels like.”
In truth, in the span of just 10 months, so a great deal for Turner has adjusted. He moved 3,000 miles absent. His burgeoning career diverged down a new path.
And in his 1st entire period with in L.A., he’s targeted on carrying out anything his new group couldn’t do final calendar year — even right after a transformational trade that the when-apprehensive shortstop has arrive to respect.
“I never assume it was a terrible issue by any signifies,” Turner reported. “Because I ended in a truly superior spot, with a actually very good crew, and a probability to gain far more Planet Series.”
At this time final year, the Nationals nonetheless imagined they could be title contenders yet again.
They struggled in the very first pair months of the 2021 time, but then obtained hot in June, going two online games around .500 hardly a thirty day period right before the deadline.
“At a person place, it felt like we could have made a run,” said Daniel Hudson, a reliever on the staff who signed with the Dodgers this offseason.
But then, the bottom fell out. It commenced with a sweep at the palms of the Dodgers to get started July. It spiraled into an 8-18 extend that dropped the Nationals out of the playoff picture soon soon after the All-Star break.
By the time Turner got COVID — he was taken off in the middle of a video game from the Phillies on July 27, four times prior to the deadline — rumors ended up commencing to swirl about just about every precious asset on the crew, the 28-yr-outdated shortstop provided.
Turner initial saw his name stated in experiences the working day in advance of but was not sure what to make of it.
Not like various pending absolutely free brokers — which includes Max Scherzer, Hudson and 5 other folks who have been at some point dealt — Turner was under staff control for another season and a fifty percent. And while he and the workforce hadn’t built progress in deal extension talks, he wasn’t looking to depart.
“I didn’t necessarily know what to believe,” Turner mentioned. “Those couple times were being back and forth. I’m obtaining traded. Ah, no, I’m not. All you in essence have is Twitter to search at. It was type of a wild journey.”
The Dodgers approached the deadline in a quite diverse area.
With Trevor Bauer on administrative go away, their pitching staff members battling accidents, and their lineup needing one particular much more significant bat up leading, president of baseball functions Andrew Friedman understood the staff was going to be hunting for top rated-close talent.
And the Nationals rapidly emerged as the most enticing trade companion.
The clubs’ preliminary talks centered on Scherzer only, Friedman stated. The Nationals required top rated catching prospect Keibert Ruiz in return. The Dodgers balked at such a superior rate for a rental player, even a person with a few Cy Young awards.
As the week progressed, nonetheless, Turner’s title entered the dialogue.
At to start with, Friedman explained it felt like a prolonged shot. “Was not always that optimistic about that, or hopeful,” he explained just lately. But then, “they came back and said they have been keen to engage together individuals lines. Then we sort of all obtained to function on striving to place the offer jointly.”
There had been complexities. In addition to Ruiz, top pitching prospect Josiah Gray also grew to become portion of the offer. Simply because Scherzer was a 10-year veteran who’d put in five seasons with the Nationals, he had to approve any deal.
The day before the deadline introduced a different sudden twist. Shortly immediately after the Dodgers submitted one proposal to the Nationals, a report surfaced that the San Diego Padres experienced already achieved a deal to obtain Scherzer.
“For about half a 2nd when I observed that report, I received anxious,” Friedman said.
The report quickly proved to be erroneous, although.
The Padres eventually pivoted to a lesser offer for Hudson and before long pale from playoff contention.
“They ended up contemplating they were gonna get a Cy Youthful winner as an alternative, they get a middle reliever,” Hudson claimed, with a self-deprecating chortle. “I can realize why guys would be let down.”
The Dodgers, in the meantime, finalized their trade for Scherzer and Turner by the end of the day, introducing the ultimate two pieces to a group they hoped would be capable of a second-consecutive title operate.
“I remember speaking to Max right just before the trade, and right after,” Turner said. “He was tremendous energized, which built me experience fantastic about it. Due to the fact I didn’t know what to anticipate.”
A 12 months later on, the closing grade for the blockbuster trade remains incomplete.
Whilst Turner and Scherzer served gas the Dodgers’ potent finish to the typical season, the club failed to gain its division. Failed to defend its Environment Sequence championship. Unsuccessful to re-sign Scherzer this winter or lock up Turner, a cost-free agent just after this period, to a extended-expression extension.
The Dodgers also lost top rated-stop prospects in Ruiz, who has gotten off to an spectacular get started in his 1st entire MLB period, and Gray, previously a fixture in the starting rotation who will facial area his previous workforce for the first time Tuesday night time.
But all through this week’s collection in Washington, the Dodgers’ initially meeting with the Nationals because previous year’s trade, there are no regrets — not from Turner, who has continued to easily settle in to his new home, nor from the team, which was equipped to build an additional star-studded roster this 12 months figuring out Turner would be at the heart of the lineup.
“Yeah, we didn’t win the Earth Series past calendar year, but I felt our corporation gave ourselves a likelihood,” manager Dave Roberts explained. “And this yr, we have a participant now in Trea who’s our everyday shortstop. I assume he was a acquire-win for all people.”
While he completed past time on a tear, winning the NL batting title and finishing fifth in MVP voting, Turner experienced changes to make.
The team’s remarkably comprehensive interior system, from day by day scouting experiences to overarching analytic evaluations, was a thing he’d hardly ever professional.
Roberts felt there was a place previous year when Turner “might have been a little little bit overwhelmed.”
“I have to dumb it down a tiny bit and not appear at so a great deal, due to the fact it’s never ever-ending,” Turner acknowledged. “But owning that information and facts is definitely good. And then just understanding to implement it, I believe they do a good position of that in this article.”
Even with Turner currently top the staff in RBIs (32), ranking 2nd in batting average (.289) and getting into Tuesday on a 15-match hitting streak, his increasing familiarity led Roberts to just lately make a hopeful declaration.
“I definitely believe that there is a great deal more in there, as significantly as general performance,” the supervisor said.
Friedman has viewed a variation, as nicely.
“I feel it’s hard for a star participant to get traded in the center of a season, to just leave a predicament and dynamic that served contribute to them getting a star participant,” Friedman mentioned. “I’ve noticed, even from spring coaching by means of now, Trea staying in a way far more cozy spot in terms of interacting with teammates and coaches. It’s been pleasurable seeing him get to that degree.”
It’s a lot closer to the consolation Turner felt with the Nationals, even prior to they determined to tear their roster down and start off to rebuild.
Even with their struggles very last period, Turner insisted he didn’t want to go away. He envisioned himself taking part in in Washington extensive-time period. Correct up right up until very last year’s trade was official, he experienced a tricky time picturing himself anyplace else.
“I don’t know if it took a though to appear to grips,” he claimed Monday, on the lookout back again all over again at the blockbuster offer. “I just consider it caught me a small off guard.”
However, he reported he does not truly feel any unwell will toward his previous workforce and tries not to assume about what could have been.
A year eradicated from the trade, he has embraced his new surroundings in L.A.
What ever uncertainties he when had about fitting in with the Dodgers have very long since pale absent.
“I mentioned it when I was there, I would have cherished to engage in there for the relaxation of my job, and I was critical about it,” Turner stated. “But it did not do the job out that way … Things come about, items alter. And a ton of situations, they work out for the superior.”
“I believe this just one,” he included, “is performing out perfectly.”