Blockbuster! Dodgers set to receive Max Scherzer and Trea Turner in MLB deadline deal with Nationals
The Los Angeles Dodgers stunned the baseball industry Thursday night by agreeing to acquire future Hall of Fame pitcher Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals in a blockbuster trade involving the two most recent World Series champions.
A baseball official with direct knowledge of the negotiations confirmed the trade has been agreed upon pending a review of medical records. The officials spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been finalized.
The six-player deal exemplified the disparate paths taken by two of the game's recent superpowers – the Dodgers, ever reluctant to part with prized prospects, suddenly dealt catcher Keibert Ruiz, pitcher Josiah Gray and two other minor leaguers to the Nationals in an effort to erase a three-game deficit in the National League West and defend their title.
And the Nationals, committed to winning ever since consecutive No. 1 picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper helped them to their first playoff bid in 2012, acknowledged a re-tooling will be necessary after a recent swoon all but assured their second consecutive season missing the playoffs.
The only shocker came when they included Turner – not eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season – in the deal with Scherzer, whose seven-year, $210 million contract expires after this season.
Scherzer fulfilled his destiny in Washington, emboldening the pitching staff and helping bring the 2019 World Series title to D.C. - "I signed a seven-year deal here," he said Thursday after making what was his final start for the Nationals, "and we won a World Series" - but will finish off that contract in L.A.
He's bringing Turner with him to form what can only be described as a super team.
When Turner joins the Dodgers, the entire infield will consist of 2021 All-Stars - third baseman Justin Turner, Trea Turner at shortstop, Chris Taylor at second base and Max Muncy at first.
The starting outfield of left fielder A.J. Pollock, Cody Bellinger in center and Mookie Betts in right have eight All-Star nods and two MVP awards between them.
And that's all before 2020 NLCS and World Series MVP Corey Seager returns from a fractured hand, presumably nudging Trea Turner from shortstop to second before he takes over for Seager, a pending free agent, at shortstop in 2022.
Then, there's Scherzer joining forces with Clayton Kershaw, each with three Cy Young Awards and hands-down the best right- and left-handed pitchers of their generation.
Which is funny, since right-hander Walker Buehler might be the most potent arm among the group.
They will team with lefty Julio Urias to give the Dodgers an imposing front four that will aim to chase down the San Francisco Giants - who lead them by three games in the NL West and just won five of seven games against the Dodgers in the past 10 days. The Dodgers are bidding for their ninth consecutive division title.
Scherzer and Kershaw both are eligible for free agency after this season, leaving the Dodgers with an interesting set of decisions regarding sure-fire Hall of Famers. But that business can wait until October.
Thursday, the Dodgers took a massive step toward ensuring they'll be playing well into that month.
Turner's extra year of club control likely sweetened the deal enough for the Dodgers to include two of their top prospects while apparently trumping the rival Padres' offer for Scherzer, which was the apparent leader in the clubhouse earlier Thursday.
Ruiz, 23, is the Dodgers' top-ranked prospect and No. 16 in all of the game, according to Baseball America. He made his major league debut in August 2020 and has played eight games over the past two seasons, but is stuck behind Will Smith on the Dodgers' depth chart. Gray is at worst the Dodgers' fourth-best prospect and ranked 59th overall, and he made his first career start July 25, pitching four innings against the Rockies.
The Nationals will also receive Class AA pitcher Gerardo Carrillo, 22, and 25-year-old outfielder Donovan Casey, also at Class AA.