Multiple reports on Thursday evening have revealed that starting pitcher Max Scherzer has approved a deal to be traded to Los Angeles, as both the Dodgers and Nationals put the finishing touches on the details.
Just hours after it seemed like the Padres were in the driver’s seat to acquire Scherzer from Washington, Los Angeles boss Andrew Friedman swooped in and is preparing to pull off an even bigger blockbuster than what was initially anticipated.
According to reports, the Dodgers will receive both Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner from Washington in exchange for a package consisting of blue-chip prospects Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, among others.
Because Scherzer has accrued 10 and 5 rights — 10 years in the major leagues and five years with the same team — a deal must be approved by him before being finalized.
Not only does the trade have huge implications on the Los Angeles starting rotation, but it also sets the Dodgers up for shortstop in 2022, as Corey Seager is eligible to become a free agent at the end of this year.
In the meantime, with a healthy Seager expected to rejoin the team for the beginning of the Arizona series on Friday, the righty-hitting Turner will temporarily slide to second base, creating a vastly improved middle infield.
With the addition of the Turner, the Dodgers can move Chris Taylor, who has no doubt been the club’s 2021 MVP, back to his super-utility role.
Obviously, the arrival of Turner provides the squad with much more flexibility for rest days — a factor that could be important during the stretch run of the regular season. Primarily, though, the main infield unit will feature Trea at the keystone, Seager at short, Justin Turner at third base and Max Muncy at first.
However, the most essential improvement comes to the club’s starting pitching rotation. As it stands, the team’s starting five consists of Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, David Price and Josiah Gray, but with the addition of Scherzer and a healthy Clayton Kershaw returning in early August, the Dodgers might conceivably have the best rotation in the majors, so long as all the pieces are fully healthy.
Nevertheless, losing Gray and Ruiz is no doubt a huge sacrifice, but at least the Los Angeles scouting directors know what they’re losing, as they have gotten solid looks at both youngsters recently at the big-league level.
According to MLB Pipeline, Ruiz and Gray are ranked as the Dodgers’ Top 1 and 2 prospects, respectively.
Scherzer is in the final year of a seven-year/$210 million contract with Washington. His base salary in 2021 is $27.3 million, and he’ll also be paid an additional $7.1 million as part of his original signing bonus.
So far this year, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound righty is 7-4 with a 2.83 ERA and an impressive 0.886 WHIP alongside 142 punchouts over 18 starts and an even 105 innings.
Turner is amidst his seventh big league season and is arb-eligible next year, meaning he’ll be under the Dodgers’ control at least until the end of 2022.
This year, Turner is slashing an electric .322/.369/.521 with 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Conceivably, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Florida native could slide into the two-hole with Seager lower in the batting order, so long as Mookie Betts returns to the lineup as anticipated this weekend.