The baseball world was stunned when the Los Angeles Dodgers not only landed three-time Cy Young Award Max Scherzer but one of the game’s best infielders in Trea Turner in a blockbuster deal with the Washington Nationals.
What made the trade even more stunning was that earlier in the day, division rival San Diego Padres were rumored to be close to landing Scherzer pending him agreeing to waive his no-trade rights.
The trade saw the Dodgers sent back four prospects, including their two top prospects; right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray, and catcher Keibert Ruiz. Also included in the deal were pitcher Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey.
With the news, the Dodgers World Series odds remained unchanged at +300 however, the Padre’s odds fell sharply from +1800 to +2000. The Houston Astros (+500) and Chicago White Sox (+650) round out the top three with Los Angeles.
Nicknamed ‘Mad Max’, Max Scherzer will fill a void in the starting rotation left by Dustin May and Trevor Bauer. May suffered a season-ending injury in April and Bauer seems unlikely to return until his legal issues are resolved.
The 37-year-old Scherzer is in the final year of a seven-year, $210-million contract, and as a 10-and-5 player (one with ten years of major league service, the five most recent having been with the same team) had to approve the trade. In Sherzer, Los Angeles gets a three-time Cy Young Award winner who helped the Nationals win the 2019 World Series. Scherzer is 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts this season for Washington.
‘Obviously, the Dodgers are a great team and an organization I’d like to be a part of so when the trade happened, I said, “Let’s do it, let’s go”,’ Scherzer said in an interview with Spectrum Sportsnet. ‘There are so many things that can happen over the course of this season that, as good as this team is right now, it’s going to take a heck of an effort to have a good postseason as well.’
Trea Turner has been an instrumental part of the Nationals lineup since he broke into the starting lineup in 2016. The 28-year-old middle infielder out of Boynton Beach, Florida, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 but opted to play collegiate ball for North Carolina State. He was drafted again by the San Diego Padres in 2014 and was traded to Washington later that year.
In 2016 Turner finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting, stealing 33 bases during his rookie season while batting .342, with 13 homers, 40 RBIs. Beginning in 2017, Turner became the Nationals starting shortstop. Turner broke out in the 2020 season. In 59 games, he hit .335, with 12 homers, 41 RBIs, and an OPS of .982. In 96 games this season, Turner is hitting .322, with 18 homers, 49 RBIs, and is second in the NL among shortstops in bWAR with 4.1.
Turner, who is making $13 million this season, is under club control through 2022 and would be a premier replacement if the Dodgers are unable to retain Corey Seager who is a free agent this winter. Seager, who has been out since mid-May because of a hand injury is expected to be activated during this weekend’s series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Earlier in the day, the Dodgers acquired starting pitcher Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals and cash considerations for a player to be named later. To open up roster space, the Dodgers designated outfielder DJ Peters for assignment. Like Max Scherzer, Duffy had full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player and approved the trade.
The trade brings to an end Duffy’s long tenure in the Royals organization. Kansas City selected him out of high school in the 2007 draft and he made his debut in 2011. He’s been with Kansas City his entire career, crossing the ten-year service milestone last month.
It was speculated that he might be moved to the Dodgers, Padres, or Los Angeles Angels. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported a few weeks ago that Duffy would probably be willing to waive his protection in a trade to a West Coast club. Duffy is a Southern California native who grew up a Dodger fan attending Cabrillo High School in Lompoc, California.
The lefty is currently on the 10-day injured list with a flexor strain in his throwing forearm. Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore told reporters this week he’d be able to return at some point this season, perhaps near the end of August.