The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired RHP Max Scherzer and SS Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals in exchange for C Keibert Ruiz, RHP Josiah Gray, OF Donovan Casey, and RHP Gerardo Carillo.
Ohhhh boy. The Dodgers have really done it this time. When is the last time we had a deal this big? Oh right, when the Dodgers got Mookie Betts and David Price from Boston. This regime is just incredible at getting superstars. They have finally traded their top two prospects, Gray and Ruiz, after years of speculation. The return is amazing. With Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw in the staff, they may not have needed Scherzer, but they got him. He won a World Series in 2019 and is still and elite pitcher. He could easily get Cy Young votes again this year, as he has posted a 3.25 xERA with a .193 xBA against and a great 31.5 K%, which is tied for his best. While he is getting up there in age, Scherzer is still amazing. Getting him alone would be a complete and total win. To get Turner too? A masterpiece. With a 30.7 ft/s sprint speed, Turner is the fastest player in baseball. He has hit .360 against fastballs this year while he has a .294 xBA and a .381 wOBA. He is an above-average defender at shortstop, but he will move to second-base for the remainder of this year when Corey Seager returns from the injured list, which potentially could be tomorrow. Chris Taylor will move to the outfield and Turner will go back to short when Seager leaves this offseason. He has one more year left on his contracts, while Scherzer is a rental. However, Scherzer has nine digits worth of deferred money coming soon. These are the World Series favorites, and they may not even win their division.
Scherzer, 37, has a 2.83 ERA with 142 strikeouts and a 0.886 WHIP in 105 innings for the Nationals this season. In his MLB career for Washington, the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, Scherzer has a 3.19 ERA with 2926 strikeouts and a 1.091 WHIP in 2462.1 innings.
Turner, 28, has hit 18 home runs with 21 stolen bases, a .369 OBP, and an .890 OPS in 420 Plate Appearances for the Nationals this year. In his MLB career, all in Washington, he has hit 93 homers with 192 stolen bases, a .356 OBP, and an .842 OPS in 2803 Plate Appearances.
The Nationals are officially in rebuild mode. Less than two years after winning their first World Series, the team is being broken up. Scherzer and Turner are two of the key pieces of the squad and they are now chasing another World Series ring in Los Angeles. This hurts but it was coming soon anyways. To get the next Nationals stars is much better than nothing. Scherzer is a free agent this upcoming season. If the team was going to go down a downward trend, he was never going to return, especially at his age. Turner had just one more year left and reports indicated that the team tried and failed to lock him up to an extension. When they couldn’t sign him, they traded him. The package that Washington got back still feels disappointing despite two highly regarded prospects coming in. Ruiz and Gray are the top two prospects in the Dodgers organization, per MLB Pipeline. They ranked them as the 41st and 42nd best prospects in all of baseball. Ruiz is their fifth best catcher while Gray is their eighth best right-handed pitcher. Ruiz is a complicated prospect to evaluate. For years, his stats never really lined up with his reputation. That is until this season. Ruiz has completely exploded at AAA this year. He has earned call-ups in 2020 and 2021 and in eight combined games he has gone 3-for-15 with two home runs and an .800 OPS. Gray has been steadily amazing in the minors after the Reds drafted him in the 2nd round of 2018. The Dodgers acquired him along with Jeter Downs from the Betts trade and the contract of Homer Bailey for Yasiel Puig, Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, and Alex Wood. It’s safe to say that the deal has worked out for Los Angeles. Gray also has pitched a bit for the big-league club this year, allowing six runs with 13 strikeouts in eight innings. Carrillo is a young, flame throwing righty who has a ton of strikeouts in AA and is ranked by Pipeline as the 17th best prospect in Los Angeles’ system. Casey was drafted in the 20th round in 2017 who has raked in the minors this year.
Ruiz, 23, has hit 16 home runs with a .381 OBP and a 1.012 OPS in 231 Plate Appearances for AAA Oklahoma City this year. In his minor league career, Ruiz has hit 45 home runs with a .355 OBP and an .802 OPS in 1811 Plate Appearances.
Gray, 23, has a 2.87 ERA with 22 strikeouts and a 0.638 WHIP in 15.2 innings at AAA this year. In his minor league career he has a 2.41 ERA with 228 strikeouts and a 0.934 WHIP in 198 innings.
Carrillo, 22, has a 4.25 ERA with 70 strikeouts and a 1.315 WHIP in 59.1 innings for AA Tulsa this year. In his minor league career, Carrillo has a 3.73 ERA with 238 strikeouts and a 1.309 WHIP in 253.2 innings pitched.
Casey, 25, has hit 11 home runs with 15 stolen bases, a .362 OBP, and an .824 OPS in 334 Plate Appearances for Tulsa in 2021. In his minor league career he has hit 48 homers with 45 stolen bases, a .348 OBP, and an .822 OPS in 1340 Plate Appearances.