The Tampa Bay Rays have traded right-handed pitcher Chih-Wei Hu to the Cleveland Indians for minor league infielder Gionti Turner.
The Rays originally acquired Hu from the Twins, along with Alexis Tapia, in a trade deadline deal that sent Kevin Jepsen to Minnesota. Hu became one of the Rays top pitching prospects and even appeared in the Futures game during a breakout 2016 campaign.
Despite featuring a five-pitch mix, including a palmball, Hu unfortunately never found his niche in the majors and stalled out in Triple-A. In fact, the way Rays used Hu suggested they thought he had little value, promoting him as a 25th man on occasion without use, and returning him to the minors as needed.
Overall in his brief MLB career of just 11 games, Hu has allowed 10 runs on 12 hits, while he has walked seven and struck out 12 hitters over 23 innings pitched between 2017 and 2018.
Gionti Turner, who just turned 18 in August, was a 27th round draft pick by Cleveland during the 2018 draft. He spent the summer in the Arizona League (rookie-level), with a solid professional debut as he hit .296/.348/.396 over 187 plate appearances.
Turner played the majority of his games at second base, but has also spent time at shortstop and in the outfield, and at 6’2” and 178 lbs carried the nickname Bambi this season, and has a reputation for expressive and possibly wild performance, per a profile on him in The Sports Daily.
Here’s a snippet on Turner from a FanGraphs Q&A:
Jack: Have you seen Gionti Turner? Seems intriguing.
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, he’s okay. Very young, good frame, a bunch of 40s and 45s that could mature into 50s, which i s great on a MIF
Trading Chih-Wei Hu is likely just the first of several moves the Rays will be making over the next 24+ hours as they work to solidify their 40-man roster ahead of the 8:00 PM EST deadline on Tuesday night.
In advance of the deadline on the 20th to add players to the 40-man roster, the #Rays have traded Chih-Wei Hu to Cleveland for minor league INF Gionti Turner. The 40-man is now at 39 players.— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) November 19, 2018
Hu will be affectionately remembered in his Rays tenure for his excellent Player’s Weekend jersey.