It was the touch of the trade deadline.
Just before midnight on July 29, the day before Major League Baseball’s July 30 trade deadline, it emerged that the Dodgers had acquired Nationals ace Max Scherzer. But wait, they were also hosting star shortstop Trea Turner.
Los Angeles was already the favorite to win the World Series at the time, but the big move only increased the star power emanating from that list.
The Dodgers may not have been able to chase the Giants, but they were able to beat their Bay Area rivals in the NLDS to get to the NLCS. And if the Dodgers are going to get out of the hole early to the Braves, down 2-0 early as they return to Chavez Ravine, they’ll need to see these two midseason acquisitions step up and play a big role the rest of the way.
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Max Scherzer on the move
Before the trade deadline, it was speculated that Scherzer might be on the move.
Makes sense. On July 29, the Nationals were sitting at 47-55, eight games out of first place behind the Mets, who were seemingly brimming with talent. The 2019 World Series champions were stuck and decided at the deadline to fully commit to a rebuild rather than trying to add a few pieces for a last-gasp postseason. Not to mention, the 37-year-old starter was in the final year of his contract with Washington and could retire at the end of the year with only a compensation pick in exchange for his departure.
Then it was time to buy it. Athletic’s Jayson Stark reported on July 27 that the eight teams known to be at stake for Scherzer were the Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Astros and Mets.
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Some teams kept coming here and there but, on July 29, the Padres emerged as the clear favorites. According to Ken Rosenthal of Athletic, it seemed that there might even be an agreement on the exchange of players. The bigger question was whether Scherzer would waive his no-trade clause.
Could Trea Turner be traded?
This always felt speculative at best. Of course, the services of a perennial All-Star shortstop, still a year and a half retired from free agency, were tempting for teams. He was coming off a season in which he hit 12 home runs and stole 12 bases with a line of .335 / .394 / .588 in the 2020 season shortened by COVID-19. He had previously stolen at least 30 bases in each of his four previous seasons and twice caught 40.
There were only a few problems. For starters, the Nationals still had eyes to potentially bounce back in 2022 with a young core that would include Turner, phenom Juan Soto, dynamic prospects Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia, and hopefully Stephen Strasburg’s return to the field. rotation.
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The next thing was that, on the morning of July 29, the Nationals announced that Turner and several other players were heading to the COVID-19 disabled list. Players can still be dealt once they’re placed on the roster, but it certainly muddied the water.
However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that Turner was still attracting commercial interest from the teams, even after testing positive for COVID-19. As it turned out, he was not the only player placed on the COVID list that day that ended up being traded: Daniel Hudson and Yan Gomes were too, their moves will be made on July 30.
Then it happened. Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted By late night on July 29, the Dodgers had landed both Scherzer and Turner in a move that rocked the baseball world.
Washington’s full comeback turned out to be plenty of prospects, with catcher Keibert Ruiz, right-hander Josiah Gray, right-hander Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey.
It was an amazing move, but it made sense for the Dodgers to make the switch. One of the Dodgers’ top starting pitchers, Trevor Bauer, had been placed on administrative leave after being charged with battery. Earlier in the year, Dustin May, who had been a huge success for the team earlier in the year and during the team’s 2020 World Series run, was forced to undergo surgery from Tommy John. Adding Scherzer to a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias instantly made it the best rotation in baseball.
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The Dodgers already had a star shortstop in Corey Seager. However, Seager is a free agent at the end of the season and, according to Spotrac, the Dodgers already have a payroll in 2022 of $ 198 million, with major contracts like those of Mookie Betts and Justin Turner taking up a fair amount of space. Trading for Turner gave the team perhaps the best midfielder combination in the game, while also giving Los Angeles an insurance plan in case Seager doesn’t re-sign with the team this offseason.
From the trade
The deal has obviously worked for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles finished the season with the second-most wins in baseball and simply beat the team with the most wins in the NLDS. Since Scherzer turned Dodgers blue, no pitcher could match the Fangraphs 2.9 WAR he posted as he dazzled with a perfect 8-0 record with a 1.94 ERA and an absurd strikeout rate of 34.1 percent in 74.1 innings with the team.
Turner won the National League batting title and finished the regular season with the most fWARs among position players at 6.9. Since the trade, he hit 10 home runs, stole 11 bases and slashed .338 / .385 / .565 for Los Angeles.
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And the Nationals must be excited about the end of the deal, too. Gray immediately joined the rotation and showed promising signs. Although his 5.31 ERA and 5.71 FIP during his Nationals’ debut weren’t exactly great, they were largely inflated by a four-game stretch during which he allowed 22 runs in 17.1 innings of work. Eliminate those outings, and he had a much cleaner 2.99 ERA in his remaining eight starts. At just 23 years old, the ceiling is high for the young pitcher.
The other big-name prospect in the comeback was Ruiz, who had just made his MLB debut earlier in the year with the Dodgers. Following his acquisition by the Nationals, he posted a .308 / .381 / .577 bar line with five home runs and an impressive 8.2 percent walk rate and 7.1 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A. He was promoted to the majors on August 30 and posted a cutoff of .284 / .348 / .395 with a pair of home runs and a solid 6.7 percent walk rate to accompany a miniscule 4.5-percent strikeout rate. hundred. The 23-year-old backstop has long been considered one of the best prospects to catch, and his combination with Gray appears to be a promising battery for the Nationals for years to come.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.