The Dodgers have outdone their little brother to the south yet again. Hours after news came that the Padres had gotten close to acquiring all star Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers have swooped in to steal the 3 time Cy Young winner as well as star shortstop Trea Turner, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan as of Thursday evening. Although not confirmed yet, it is being reported that the Dodgers are sending a prospect haul to the nation’s capital which includes the organization’s top two prospects in RHP Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz, along with two other minor leaguers. Scherzer, an eight time all star with Detroit and Washington, has been dominant this year at age 36 with a 2.83 ERA and 142 strikeouts while being named the starting pitcher in the all star game earlier this month. Mad Max has already confirmed that he will waive his no trade clause to join the defending World Series champions. Turner, who made his first all star appearance this season, has a career .300 batting average over 7 seasons while being extremely versatile in the field and one of the biggest speed threats in the game.
While the Dodgers have not missed a beat from last year’s championship, the team has struggled as of late with a combination of lack of starting pitching and injuries. With Clayton Kershaw on the IL for the foreseeable future and Trevor Bauer likely not returning to the mound this year, LA has been looking to solidify its rotation behind young stars Walker Buehler and Julio Urias and they do just that with the addition of the 8 time all star. Once Kershaw returns, the Dodgers will field three big game pitchers in him, Scherzer and Buehler as all three have enjoyed major success in the postseason in past years, not to mention Urias and veteran David Price rounding out the rotation. Scherzer is a free agent at season’s end and the Dodgers are way above the luxury tax line meaning Max likely won’t be a Dodger next year but he for sure will be the spearhead of the best staff in the league for the rest of the 2021 season.
Unlike Scherzer, reports had suggested that Trea Turner was going to remain in Washington through the rest of the season with the team possibly looking to move him in the winter. Trading Turner was assumed to be too complicated as he just recently tested positive for COVID-19 mid-game against Philadelphia and his availability to a potential suitor would be delayed. However, the Dodgers did not have an issue with paying extra to not only get Turner, but steal Scherzer away from the Padres. With all star Corey Seager heading for free agency after the season, Turner’s versatility will come into play as he will likely man second base with prospect Gavin Lux struggling mightily throughout this year. Assuming Seager signs elsewhere this offseason and with Turner being under team control through next season, it gives LA a steady bat, glove and running game at the top of the lineup for multiple seasons at his natural position of shortstop.
Washington’s recent summer swoon has converted them from buyers to sellers with the trade of Scherzer and Turner signifying the end of Washington’s successful run throughout the last decade which culminated in their 2019 World Series Championship. The Nationals, at 47-54 and 7 games out of the NL East lead, have seemingly thrown in the towel on their current core and are heading for a full scale rebuild. With some time left until the deadline, other names that could be thrown into trade talks include slugger Kyle Schwarber and LHP Patrick Corbin. The good news for Washington is that Juan Soto has proved himself as a franchise cornerstone at age 22 and it gives the organization a guy to build around for the future. Adding Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz to an already deep farm system (especially with pitching) makes the Nationals future much more promising, as the Mets and Braves seemingly hold control of the NL East for the next couple years.
The additions of Scherzer and Turner are vital to the Dodgers hopes of returning to the World Series as they currently trail the rival Giants in the NL West by 3 games, despite having a very impressive record of 62-42. This move signifies the Dodgers unwillingness to settle for just a playoff spot and also their determination to outbid their rivals, as the Padres, Giants and Red Sox had all been eyeing Mad Max in the recent days. The major splash made here basically forces the Giants and Padres to make huge moves to keep up with Los Angeles in the division, with less than a day to do so. San Diego is still looking for starting pitching and with Scherzer off the board, it looks as if they will have to settle on either Kyle Gibson from Texas or José Berrios from Minnesota. San Francisco, who still lacks a true star player, will likely turn to add that to their lineup with big hitters in Kris Bryant, Trevor Story and maybe even Luke Voit available.
The Dodgers for the third time in 18 months have acquired one of the biggest names in the sport as Max Scherzer joins Mookie Betts and Trevor Bauer (not anymore) as the latest superstars to suit up in the City of Angels. With this deal, the Dodgers have both the best rotation and best lineup in baseball by far, one that knows how to win big ball games and doesn’t back down to challenges. As long as the team can get and stay healthy come playoff time, there is no logical reason to think the Dodgers will not repeat as World Series Champions in 2021.
Image: USA Today