The blockbuster we’ve all been waiting for may finally be here.
Reports have indicated that the Los Angeles Dodgers could make, unquestionably, the biggest move of the trade deadline thus far, wrangling Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals.
According to the reports, Scherzer would waive his no-trade clause to join the Dodgers. The Nationals’ excitable ace has attained 10-5 rights — ten years in the majors and five with the same team — giving him the right to veto any trade he’s involved in.
The expected return is said to be a large prospect haul, but no current members of the Dodgers’ big-league core. Catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray are the headliners — and both members of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect list — with Ken Rosenthal reporting that two other mid-tier prospects would be included in the deal as well.
Scherzer pitched on Thursday for the Nationals, making what could have been his final start in the curly W hat. He threw six innings of a seven-inning doubleheader game and limited the Phillies to three hits. Turner has not played since July 27 after contracting the coronavirus and landing on the COVID-19 injured list. He was hitting .322 with 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases at the time of his positive test.
Both Scherzer (37) and Turner (28) were instrumental parts of the Nationals’ 2019 championship team. Scherzer started Games 1 and 7 of the series against the Astros, both games that the Nationals won. Turner held down the starting shortstop role for the Nationals all season, and though he struggled at the plate in the postseason, he still stole four bases during the 17 playoff games and cracked a big home run in the Wild Card game.
This trade, should it go through as expected, pushes the defending champions to the top of the World Series favorites list. Adding Scherzer to a rotation that, when fully healthy, will boast Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias and the newly acquired Danny Duffy, is a massive move in the National League arms race. Corey Seager’s imminent return from injury probably pushes Turner to second base, but also will give the Dodgers a whopping nine position players on the 40-man roster who have made an All-Star team.
In Ruiz and Gray, the Nationals are clearly trying to form the nucleus of their next contending team. Ruiz has been a hot prospect for years now. He’s sipped from a big-league cup of coffee six times now, getting seven plate appearances for the 2021 Dodgers. His breakout minor-league season came in 2017, when the fresh-faced 18-year-old hit .316/.358/.460 between the Dodgers’ Low-A and High-A affiliates.
Gray has also briefly been up with the Dodgers this year but really started to turn heads in 2019. That year, a 21-year-old Gray shot through the Dodgers’ ranks, beginning in Low-A but ending the season two levels higher in Double-A, where he posted a 2.75 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 25.5 K% and held a league of hitters much older than him to a .224 average. The two 23-year-olds now represent a new era of hope for a Washington organization that lost closer Brad Hand, and now probably Scherzer and Turner, on the same day.
Should the deal go through, it undoubtedly sends a shiver down the rest of the league’s spine. The rich got richer, and they did so at a fairly reasonable price. Dealing young prospects can always come back to bite, but the sting is certainly lessened by a World Series ring, something that a three-time Cy Young winner and career .300 hitter with elite speed can help the mighty Dodgers obtain for a second year in a row.
NATIONALS THROW REST OF ROSTER
Also floating around reports, the Nats have reportedly worked out a deal to send Kyle Schwarber to the Boston Red Sox and are in talks with the Padres over Daniel Hudson, according to FanSided.