The Los Angeles Dodgers just made another blockbuster trade.
The World Series Champions are finalizing a deal with the Washington Nationals that would send three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and All-Star Trea Turner to Los Angeles in exchange for top prospects; Keibert Ruiz, Josiah Gray, Gerardo Carillo, and Donovan Casey, sources tell NBC LA.
The impetus for the trade begins with the Dodgers desire for more starting pitching and to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres in the National League West.
Currently, the Dodgers starting rotation is down to just two pitchers who were on the Opening Day roster: Walker Buehler and Julio Urias.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw is presently on the injured list with elbow inflammation, Dustin May will be out until the 2022 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer is currently under administrative leave by Major League Baseball after accusations of sexual assault.
In a last-second rewrite that is fitting for the team that calls Hollywood home, the Dodgers appear to have swooped in and turned the tables on their Southern California rivals the San Diego Padres.
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, that the Padres were “close to acquiring Max Scherzer.”
Other national baseball writers began to report the same, tweeting that the specifics of the trade were complete, and that the two teams were waiting on approval by Scherzer—who has a full no-trade clause—and pending medical evaluations.
However, in the hours that followed, as the Dodgers made another trade to acquire left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals, many of those same reporters began to walk back those earlier tweets, suggesting that other teams were still in the mix to acquire Scherzer, including the Dodgers, Red Sox, and even the Angels.
NBC LA reached out to sources at that time that confirmed the Dodgers were still in talks to try and acquire Scherzer and perhaps another player, either shortstop Trea Turner, or relief pitcher Daniel Hudson.
At about fifteen minutes past 5 o’clock Pacific Time, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the Dodgers had made “significant progress” on the deal and that it would indeed include Scherzer and Turner in exchange for a “prospect-laden return.”
Shortly thereafter, NBC LA’s Michael J. Duarte reported that Dodgers top prospect, catcher Keibert Ruiz, had ben scratched from Triple-A Oklahoma City’s starting lineup, an indicator that he could be involved in the trade talks.
About an hour later, Passan reported that the deal was being finalized.
Sources told NBC LA that Scherzer had agreed to waive his no-trade clause and that the deal would be Scherzer and Turner in exchange for Ruiz, Gray, Carrillo, and Casey. The deal is pending medical evaluations.
Ruiz and Gray are currently ranked as the Dodgers No. 1 and No. 2 prospects according to MLB Pipleline. Carrillo is ranked No. 17.
Scherzer is currently 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts for the Nationals this season. Scherzer started in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series when they Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in seven games. He was a perfect 3-0, including two starts against the Dodgers, that postseason. Ironically, if he starts for the Dodgers in five days (he started on Thursday in Philadelphia) he will make his first appearance in blue against the Astros. He is a free agent at the end of the season.
Turner, is currently in protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Turner made the NL All-Star team in 2021, and is batting .322 with 18 home runs and 49 RBIs. He also provides the Dodgers with much-needed speed in the lineup. He can play shortstop, second base, and center field.
The Dodgers are also expected to get reigning World Series MVP Corey Seager, second baseman Gavin Lux, outfielder Mookie Betts, and another three-time Cy Young award winner in Kershaw all back from the IL in the coming week or two.
Where Turner will play and fit into the lineup once that happens is anyone’s guess, as is what happens to the Dodgers rotation once Scherzer and Duffy are in it. But as Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts likes to say, “those are first-class problems.”