The Los Angeles Dodgers were heavily involved in the impact starting pitcher market prior to the MLB trade deadline on August, 1, with reported top targets of Justin Verlander from the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez.
Verlander was ultimately traded to the Houston Astros, which was his preferred destination, and he held some power due to a no-trade clause. That had the Dodgers focused on Rodriguez, and they put a deal in place before the 30-year-old used his limited no-trade clause to veto the agreement with the Tigers.
By the end of the trade deadline, the Dodgers were left without adding a top-of-the-rotation starter, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Earlier in the week, they also made an offer to the Mets for Max Scherzer, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, before he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Luisangel Acuña:
They made an offer of multiple prospects thought to be about the value of Acuña (but the Mets obviously preferred the one big-time prospect; can’t blame ’em).
Luisangel, the brother of Ronald Acuña Jr., is regarded as a top-60 prospect, with MLB Pipeline ranking him No. 43 and Fangraphs having him at 56. A comparison for the Dodgers in a straight-up deal would have been Dalton Rushing (No. 45 on MLB Pipeline, but likely higher in the team’s internal rankings) or Gavin Stone (No. 47).
Still, even if the Dodgers offered either of the aforementioned prospects, it’s still a possibility the Mets would have preferred Acuña.
In addition to that factor, the Dodgers’ reportedly offering multiple prospects that totaled the value of Acuña means it’s more likely they attempted to acquire Scherzer for the some combination of Ryan Pepiot, Nick Frasso, Andy Pages, Nick Frasso and River Ryan.
The Mets preferred quality over quantity.
Scherzer went 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 107.2 innings over 19 starts for the Mets this season, collecting 121 strikeouts against 30 walks. The 39-year-old has been in the midst of a down season, and how he left the Dodgers in free agency did make him somewhat of an odd fit at the deadline.
Still, Scherzer would have been an upgrade to a Dodgers’ rotation that has been among the worst in baseball. Scherzer allowed three runs over six innings in his Rangers debut.
Max Scherzer ejected against Dodgers
Scherzer returned to Dodger Stadium to face the Dodgers for the first time as a member of the Mets earlier this year, but he was ejected after just three scoreless innings.
Scherzer underwent a foreign substance check by first-base umpire Phil Cuzzi, who in the second inning instructed him to wash his hands and get a new glove in the third, to which the future Hall of Famer obliged.
Home-plate umpire Dan Bellino and Cuzzi inspected Scherzer again before the bottom of the fourth inning began, and at that point he became more irate, which led to the ejection.
The right-hander denied using any substances, and the data suggested he wasn’t, but he still served a suspension for the incident.
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