Dodgers “Blockbuster” MLB Trade Deadline Move
If we know one thing about the Los Angeles Dodgers it’s that they’ve built one of the most successful runs in modern baseball history. Yesterday afternoon, roughly 24 hours before the MLB trade deadline, baseball fans thought Max Scherzer was going to be a San Diego Padre. Senior writer for The Athletic Ken Rosenthal tweeted out that the Padres were close on a deal that would send Scherzer to the Padres.
BREAKING: Padres close to acquiring Max Scherzer, sources tell @TheAthletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2021
Considering the Nationals are below .500 and out of the playoff race, they made it clear that Scherzer is on the market. Looking at the history of Padres GM A.J. Preller, he certainly isn’t scared to go out and try to acquire top available talent. As the day progressed though, it appeared that the Dodgers were in the driver seat to acquire not only Scherzer but also all-star shortstop Trea Turner.
Over the last decade, the Dodgers organization has prioritized developing players through their farm system to give them the flexibility to go out and acquire top talent when needed. Looking at the 2021 season thus far, the Dodgers have been hit with many key injuries that have affected the success of the team. As I wrote in a previous article on the Dodgers last week after they blew a few late games against the Giants:
“One of the biggest takeaways from this series is that the Dodgers, who have been riddled with injuries, are not last year’s World Series team.”
At the start of the 2021 campaign, the Dodgers had one of the deepest starting rotations in the entire league. Since then, the team has lost Trevor Bauer (off-field issues), Dustin May (torn UCL), and Clayton Kershaw. While Kershaw is slated to return in a week or so, the loss of Bauer and May has put a huge hole in the Dodgers rotation. The absence of these 3 top arms has resulted in the team relying on Tony Gonsolin and David Price to step up and start games. One key thing to note here is that neither Gonsolin nor Price were in the Dodgers starting rotation at the beginning of the year.
The addition of Scherzer & Turner completely changes not only the NL West race but also the World Series odds. With the Giants sitting 3 games ahead of the Dodgers in the division, the addition of Scherzer gives them one of the best arms in the league. Not to mention the value Turner brings to the table. In the 2021 campaign, Turner’s numbers are off the charts:
Looking at some high-level numbers, Turner is hitting .322, with 18 home runs, 49 runs batted in, and 21 stolen bases. The 28-year-old shortstop is the fastest player in the league and one of the most productive hitters as well. In my opinion, Turner is the best shortstop in the league outside of Fernando Tatis Jr.
One key thing to note is that the Dodgers already have a beast of a shortstop on their roster, former World Series MVP Corey Seager. Seager hasn’t played in a game since May due to a broken hand. With Seager slated to return over the weekend, word has gotten around that the Dodgers will move Trea Turner over to 2nd base and keep Seager at shortstop.
Projected Dodgers Starting Lineup Post-Trade
The addition of Turner to the infield opens up questions to who will have to head to the bench from the current roster. Here are my thoughts on what we will see:
- Catcher: Will Smith
- First Base: Max Muncy
- Second Base: Trea Turner
- Shortstop: Corey Seager
- Third Base: Justin Turner
- Left Field: Chris Taylor
- Center Field: Cody Bellinger
- Right Field: Mookie Betts
Was The Trade A Win For Both Sides?
As a whole, I truly believe this trade was a win for both sides. Based on the reasons discussed above, the Dodgers are getting two of the best players in the league in Scherzer and Turner. In the case of the Nationals, they got a pair of top prospects that MLB scouts rave about, Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray. Ruiz is the Dodgers #1 prospect (#16 in MLB), who is a switch-hitting catcher batting .311, with 16 home runs and 45 runs batted in in 52 games in AAA. Gray is the #42 prospect in baseball who has posted a 2.87 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16 innings in AAA.
With the Nationals expecting to lose Scherzer after this season, the deal seems great for them to kick off their rebuilding process. Both Ruiz and Gray would likely be starting on almost any other MLB team and are both young prospects who are ready to bring value.
As a Dodgers fan, I cannot wait to watch Scherzer and Turner contribute to the Dodgers goal of going back-to-back this year. The rest of the 2021 season is poised to be one for the books and I’m excited to watch how it plays out after this blockbuster trade.
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