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For a couple of hours on Thursday, it sounded as if the Padres would possibly finalize a deal for Nationals ace Max Scherzer—simply the type of massive, splashy transfer that the crew has turn out to be recognized for in the arms of common supervisor A.J. Preller, and one which appeared prefer it would possibly push them previous the Dodgers in the NL West.
For a couple of hours.
Then the Dodgers got here by way of with an even bigger, splashier transfer, buying and selling for Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner, suddenly shoring up their rotation, including a flexible defender and placing one of many largest deadline prizes out of attain for a division competitor.
The Dodgers will get Scherzer, who will turn out to be a free agent this winter, and Turner, who has one extra season of crew management, whereas reportedly taking over the cash owed to every. They’ll ship the Nationals a powerful bundle that features two of their high prospects, catcher Keibert Ruiz and pitcher Josiah Grey, in addition to outfielder Donovan Casey and pitcher Gerardo Carillo. That replenishes a depleted farm system for Washington. It offers a significant enhance to the percentages of successful not simply the division, however the World Collection, for L.A.
Scherzer is a perfect acquisition for the Dodgers—presently in severe want of rotation depth. They misplaced Dustin Could to Tommy John surgical procedure earlier this spring. Clayton Kershaw has missed most of this month as a result of forearm irritation; Danny Duffy, the crew’s different addition Thursday, is out with a strained flexor. And Trevor Bauer’s future with the crew is unsure as he stays on administrative depart whereas awaiting the following listening to in his sexual assault case.
Because of this Scherzer, 37, supplies a sorely wanted starter who could be a front-of-the-rotation presence. Since signing with the Nationals at age 30 in 2015, he has been remarkably, virtually traditionally, constant. He has solely posted an ERA above 3.00 as soon as, in the chaos of the shortened pandemic season, and even that was a decent 3.74. His strikeout charge has by no means dipped beneath 30%. He has received the Cy Younger twice and been a finalist two extra occasions. If he stays on this trajectory—and he’s proven few indicators of something in any other case—his thirties is likely to be among the many better of any pitcher for the age group. There are solely two pitchers in historical past to strike out extra batters between the ages of 30 and 36: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. (He used this season to go Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan.) Scherzer was probably the most enticing rental choices available on the market and would have represented a severe improve for any contending rotation. However there are few locations the place the necessity was as instantly nice as in L.A.
Turner, in the meantime, provides an above-average bat, pace, and protection. Whereas he’s been a fixture at shortstop for the Nationals, he also can play heart area or second base, and he’ll probably take over the latter place for the Dodgers after Corey Seager returns from his present stint on the IL. (The truth that Turner is underneath contract for subsequent 12 months, too, offers the crew extra selections on the way to strategy Seager’s impending free company.) This roster, recognized for its positional versatility, was already loaded with plug-and-play choices. Turner solely provides to them.
It’s a key transfer for a Dodgers crew that has spent most of this season wanting up on the first-place Giants and barely holding off the third-place Padres. All three groups are more likely to make it to October given the dearth of wild-card competitors in the NL. But that leaves steep competitors for the division title—none of those groups need to depart its destiny as much as a battle with one of many others in a single-game play-in. However the Dodgers’ probabilities of avoiding that now look higher than they’ve all 12 months. Apart from the addition of Scherzer and Turner, some essential gamers are scheduled to return quickly from the IL (Seager, Kershaw, and Mookie Betts), which might make for a robust run by way of August and September. The Dodgers haven’t been in first place since April. However with this trade, good well being and the suitable breaks, they may be capable of regain the spot in the approaching weeks.
Buying a pair like Scherzer and Turner requires parting with severe prospects. However the Dodgers’ deep system is constructed for that. Ruiz and Grey have been the group’s consensus high two prospects—however this farm stays full of great expertise even with out them. Importantly for the Nationals, each have been in the majors this 12 months, and they need to be capable of make an influence quickly. That’s key because the crew tries to load up on younger expertise: Washington is just not in promote now mode a lot as promote all the things, immediately, as quick as potential. (Earlier in the day, they dealt Brad Hand to the Blue Jays, and so they later moved Kyle Schwarber to the Pink Sox and Daniel Hudson to the Padres.) However with a give attention to prospect expertise like this, comparatively near the majors, they is likely to be what could possibly be characterised as a short-term retool, slightly than a long-term rebuild.
It’s a transfer that would form the contours of the playoff image of the NL West. And if the Giants and Padres really feel strain to reply with extra strikes of their very own, it might additionally form the contours of what is likely to be a chaotic, topsy-turvy deadline on Friday.
Extra MLB Trade Deadline Protection:
• Yankees Enhance Lackluster Offense With Anthony Rizzo Trade
• In Joey Gallo Trade, Yankees Guess the Farm on One other Slugger
• Rays Discover New Sense of Urgency to Warmth Up AL East Race
• Starling Marte Trade Is Win-Win Deal for Each A’s and Marlins