- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 14, 2015

After six months in minor-league limbo, highly-touted shortstop prospect Trea Turner officially joined the Washington Nationals organization Sunday. He will report to Double-A Harrisburg, as expected.

Turner’s arrival completed the three-team, 11-player trade that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Tampa Bay in December. In exchange, Washington netted Turner and Joe Ross, who allowed two earned runs over eight stellar innings Saturday to pick up his first major-league win.

Turner, who was drafted 13th overall by the Padres in 2014, was originally listed as a “player to be named later” in the deal because league rules stipulated that a draft pick could not be traded until a year after he signed his contract. Those rules have since been revised, allowing teams to trade draft picks in the same year at the conclusion of the World Series.

Turner, 21, could not officially be named in the trade until Sunday, but his inclusion was far from a well-kept secret. It created an awkward situation both for the North Carolina State product, who was assigned to Double-A San Antonio, and for the Nationals, who had to trust another organization to manage one of their prospects.

“From the outset, this was a complex deal,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement Sunday. “But we thought it was one that would better our organization for the present as well as the long term. That’s always our goal. We look forward to getting Trea into our minor league system.”

Turner was hitting .322 with a .385 on-base percentage for San Antonio this season, with five homers, 35 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 2 prospect in San Diego’s system.

“My first year in professional baseball has been crazy! Tons of ups and downs but worth every second. I want to thank the Padres for everything they have done for me!” Turner wrote in a statement on Twitter. “That being said… Extremely excited to join the Nationals! Can’t wait to get out on the field with a new uniform and continue doing what I love! Ready to wear some red, white and blue! #Natitude”

The Nationals are not expected to re-sign starting shortstop Ian Desmond, who is in the midst of the final year of his contract. Desmond’s departure could give Turner an opportunity to quickly rise to the major league level.

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