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December 17, 2014 / Nat Anacostia

Souza trade yields shortstop, pitcher

In a three-way trade with the Padres and Rays, the Nats sent Steven Souza and Hagerstown pitcher Travis Ott to the Rays, receiving shortstop prospect Trea Turner and right-handed pitching prospect Joe Ross from the Padres. Both Turner and Ross are 21 years old and were were first-round draft picks, Ross in 2011 and Turner this last June. Ross is the younger brother of Tyson Ross and pitched in High A and AA this season, while Turner played in short-season and low-A. Because he was drafted less than 12 months ago, Turner will officially be a “player to be named later.” The trade is still contingent on review of medical records.

The Nats exchanged a major-league-ready outfielder who doesn’t have a roster position available for a shortstop prospect who might eventually fill Ian Desmond‘s spot and one of the Padres’ best pitching prospects. Ken Rosenthal writes that the Nats may be the big winner in the trade. With Souza blocked, not only by Jayson Werth, Denard Span, and Bryce Harper, but also by Michael Taylor who is a year younger and ahead of Souza on the prospect lists, the deal makes a lot of sense for the Nats and should strengthen the team in the long run, while losing very little in the short run.

Although Souza only played 21 games with the Nats, he will, of course, always be remembered by Nats fans for his diving catch in the last play of the regular season to save Jordan Zimmermann‘s no hitter. It won MLB’s GIBBY award as the play of the year, and is undoubtedly the choice as the greatest play in Nats history.

I’ll also remember Souza from another game. On August 6, the Nats were playing the Mets and Souza, who had just been called up to replace Nate McLouth, came into the game to replace Werth. My daughters were visiting and the whole family went to the game (now getting to be a relatively rare event), and we were sitting in left field—probably section 105. I mentioned to them that Souza was a power hitter who still hadn’t hit his first major league home run. Maybe we’d have a chance to catch it. On the next pitch, Souza launched the ball down the left field line. It went foul, and Souza would have to wait another 6 weeks for his first dinger. But for a moment, we thought we might see it.

My best wishes to Souza in his major league career.

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