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2021 Washington Nationals: Why Signing Justin Turner Makes Sense

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MLB spring training is just over one week away, and teams are scurrying to finalize their rosters. The 2021 Washington Nationals have had their share of offseason deals already. Top free agents this offseason being the likes of Trevor Bauer and Marcell Ozuna have inked new deals with the Dodgers and Braves. Those two teams are in a win-now mode, given the amount of talent they possess on their respective rosters. 

However, you must consider that the 2021 Washington Nationals come into the season hungry to win now also. Max Scherzer, the cornerstone starting pitcher for the Nats, is entering the final year of his deal. Also up for grabs in the near future is the young talent of Trea Turner. Turner is only 27 years old playing out of North Carolina State. The shortstop position for the Nationals has been blessed by the speedy Turner, who keeps improving year after year.

2021 Washington Nationals: The Hot Corner

If indeed that the 2019 champs feel the urge to win now, they will certainly look into signing Justin Turner. The long time Dodger third baseman is arguably the best free-agent left available heading into spring training. A veteran hot cornerman could be exactly what the Nats need as contenders in the NL.

The Nationals, given their young talent and superb starting rotation, are expected to be in the playoffs, but, they aren’t favored much past that line. When you look at the best players in the postseason, Turner is absolutely on another level. He supports a .295 batting average throughout his career, along with a .720 slugging in the 2020 playoffs. In fact, he set the Dodgers playoff hit record last year.

Any team would love to entrust Turner in the biggest spots come crunch time. Match him up to perennial All-Star Juan Soto and it’s already a dangerous lineup.

2021 Washington Nationals: Kieboom’s struggles

Largely due to the limited amount of MLB time, prospect Carter Kieboom has had his share of struggles. In 33 games last season his average was only .202 with 33 strikeouts. That accounts for a strikeout for every game he played. Signing Justin Turner would serve as an advantage for Kieboom and play alongside him all season. 

These stats will no doubt improve with a return to somewhat of normalcy. A 60 game season proved a struggle for a number of MLB players last season. Having a player mentor like Turner would prove his worth in more ways than just on the field. The Nationals should note that this pairing is to be Kieboom and Turner together, not just Turner or nothing.

2021 Washington Nationals: The Perfect Safety Net

Justin Turner is a perfect seasoned veteran for the Nationals to pursue. And even though there are some risks of injury to damage his potential season, the perfect safety net would be waiting in the wings. Turner would be an upgrade from Kieboom obviously, however, the young corner does need time. At 36 years of age, Justin Turner is likely to play at most to 40 if not less. It’s a win-win for Washington, add Turner’s talents for a couple years and boost up one of the best prospects in baseball. 

Kieboom’s numbers are going to improve this season, with or without the addition of Turner. However, the need for a smoother transition is evident. And if the Nationals have any intent to make a title push, Turner would certainly be the better option. The front office must choose how they want to play this, win now under the guaranteed contracts, or gamble on resigning Trea Turner and prolonging Scherzer’s falling peak.

Follow me on Twitter @HunterSills2.

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