Most of the talk around the Chicago Cubs this week has been the hot start from highly touted prospect Javier Baez. The second baseman has homered three times in his first three games for the Cubs.
But the team from Chicago's South Side did more than promote from within on Friday. The Cubs went out and acquired a young right-handed pitcher who was once a highly-ranked prospect of his own. Chicago dealt a pair of prospects for the 23-year-old.
Plenty of potential
The Marlins designated Turner for assignment two days ago and pulled off the deal to swap him for two more young, and relatively unknown, prospects from the Cubs' system. The deal marks the end of Turner's Miami career and sends him on his way to his third ball club. The ninth overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft elected to sign with the Detroit Tigers right out of high school after committing to play baseball at Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
But Turner did not get much of a chance to prove himself in Detroit. Still a top prospect in the minor leagues, Turner was shipped off to Miami in a deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers. And his time with the Marlins had plenty of ups and downs. But mostly downs.
Struggles in Miami
Turner had an abbreviated 2012 season in Miami when he made seven starts and put together a 3.89 ERA in 40+ innings. With a mid-90s fastball and a cutter that can be nasty on either a right-hander or lefty, Turner put together plenty of positive outings. But his command has been a bit of an enigma in his three years since the first trade.
Turner posted a career-low 1.9 BB/9 in that 2012 season before it spiked to a career-high 4.1, which doesn't count his 2011 mark that only included one start. In 78 innings this year, Turner has improved it back down to just 2.6 walks per nine.
Form this year is patchy
Batters are hitting Turner better this year, which isn't a good sign for the young hurler. Turner has given up 106 hits in 78.1 innings. The Cubs will hope he can decrease this number like he did his walks this year. GM Theo Epstein was quoted as liking his peripheral numbers and still having faith in his stuff, which he says hasn't changed since he was that top prospect.
It is still unclear whether Turner will join the Cubs' rotation or throw out of the bullpen. He is not eligible to be sent down the minor leagues after being designated for assignment and then traded. So Rick Renteria and the Cubs' staff will need to find some use for him in the last six to seven weeks of the season. That is a short-term predicament. This deal was clearly made with the hope that Turner will eventually live up to the potential he was once touted with.