The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals agreed to a blockbuster trade last night, one that will send ace Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner to California and four prospect to the nation’s capital, two of them of the “blue-chip” variety.
Gray is universally considered a top-25 prospect in MLB, while Ruiz is also comfortably in the top 50.
However, one can’t help but wonder if the Nationals could have gotten more for a bonafide ace and an elite shortstop.
Sure, Scherzer is a rental, and an expensive one at that counts $34,603,480 against the payroll, but Turner had a year and a half of additional team control and is a top-5 shortstop in MLB.
There is a factor that needs to be weighted in the analysis: the Dodgers are taking all the financial obligations of Scherzer and Turner when it comes to prorated 2021 salary.
For Scherzer, that’s nearly $35 million as previously stated, and for Turner, it’s $13 million, with a fourth season of arbitration coming in 2022.
The Dodgers will cover that, but Scherzer deferred $105 million to be paid once a year between 2022 and 2028, and the Nats are still on the hook for most of that.
When the Scherzer deal gets done, the Dodgers will owe him only the prorated portion of his $35M salary for 2021, which is deferred. Scherzer will collect $105M deferred in seven installments from 2022-28, but the Nationals will still be on the hook for the vast majority of that.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 30, 2021
All things considered, the Nats got two nice building blocks and two solid prospects, but since they still have to pay Scherzer a lot of money, and since Turner is an elite performer who is not a rental, they should have gotten more.
Scherzer And Turner Will Lift The Dodgers
Scherzer may be 37, but he is pitching like a 25-year-old kid.
In 111 innings in 2021, he has a 2.76 ERA and 11.92 strikeouts per nine frames, with only 2.27 walks per nine.
He is an ace, with the ability and experience to absorb an ace-like workload, and is money in the playoffs.
Turner, on the other hand, is a true star.
His .322/.369/.521 line indicates he is able to hit for a high average, but also has power (18 homers) and speed to burn (21 stolen bases.)
He does everything well, and will take over second base for Los Angeles.
Analyzing The Nats’ Return
Taking out all service time and financial considerations, the four prospects Washington received are good.
While analyzing the return for Fangraphs, Eric Longenhagen called Ruiz a solid catcher with further room to grow and the potential to become an All-Star.
He is a “free swinger” who doesn’t work too many walks, but makes a lot of contact, which is a rare profile for a catcher.
He has issues blocking balls in the dirt but is overall a good defensive catcher.
As for Gray, he has been contributing to the Dodgers’ rotation recently, and has a fantastic combo of fastball velocity and rise that earns him lots of empty swings.
Coupled with a very good slider and two developing secondaries in his curveball and changeup, Gray has a chance to be a number two starter when he is done developing.
Per Longenhagen, Casey “has real arm strength, speed, and power”, and can max out “as a big league bench piece.”
Carrillo can be an impact reliever.
Overall, a good group of players to build around, but there is the feeling that they could have gotten more considering Turner’s status as a young star and Scherzer’s obvious resume.
Still think the Nationals return was good for Scherzer + Turner? https://t.co/ttriq9B4Uw
— Jesse Morse, MD (@DrJesseMorse) July 30, 2021