MLB trade deadline roundup: Max Scherzer, Trea Turner to Dodgers; Kris Bryant to Giants
Los Angeles — The World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off a monster deal for ace Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner, getting the dynamic duo from the Washington Nationals shortly before Friday’s trade deadline.
Washington acquired a pair of rookies, right-hander Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz, and two minor leaguers, righty Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey.
Scherzer, the former Tiger, had been given permission to speak to the Dodgers to see if he would waive his right to veto any trade, a power he had as a 10-year veteran who has been with his team for at least five years.
“Today is heart wrenching as we say goodbye to two of the most accomplished players and two of the best people in our team’s history,” Nationals owner Mark Lerner said in a statement.
The deal came with the Dodgers three games behind NL West-leading San Francisco. Los Angeles owns the top spot in the wild-card race, 21/2 games ahead of San Diego.
With the Major League Baseball trade deadline at 4 p.m. Eastern, there had been speculation on Thursday that the Padres would be the winners in the Scherzer sweepstakes.
Instead, the Dodgers got real busy. They made a trade early in the day for longtime Kansas City left-handed starter Danny Duffy, then closed in on Scherzer, the biggest prize in this deadline frenzy.
The Nationals, who have fallen out of playoff contention, were equally active, making several trades in 24 hours.
Scherzer is 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts this season, and also started the All-Star Game for the National League this month.
Scherzer posted a win for the Nationals on Thursday, when he pitched six innings of one-run ball at Philadelphia in the first game of a doubleheader.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, Scherzer joins a deep and talented pitching staff that includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, David Price and more.
Scherzer has a $35-million salary in the final season of a $210-million, seven-year contract and can become a free agent after the World Series. No doubt, the Dodgers are looking right now at far they can go this year with Mad Max on their side.
The 37-year-old righty is a fierce competitor, often stalking around the mound in-between pitches, firing up himself and his teammates.
Scherzer is 183-97 — including two no-hitters — in a 14-year career with Arizona, Detroit and Washington. He signed a the big contract with the Nationals with the goal of winning a World Series, and he helped bring the franchise its first championship in 2019,
Scherzer got a no-decision when he started Game 7 of the title-clincher in Houston. He is 7-5 with a 3.38 ERA in postseason play.
Turner is a force all over the field, batting .322 with 18 home runs and 49 RBs, along with 21 stolen bases.
Turner is currently out of action after testing positive for COVID-19. He singled and scored in the first inning at Philadelphia on Tuesday night, then was pulled from the game.
The 28-year-old Turner was All-Star for the first time this season. He tied a major league record by hitting for the cycle for the third time in his career, doing it last month on his birthday.
Turner is a career .300 hitter in seven seasons who also has started in center field and second base in the majors. That would certainly appeal to the Dodgers, who employ a lot of versatile players.
He is earning $13 million this season, is eligible for arbitration next winter and can become a free agent after the 2022 World Series.
Corey Seager was the Series MVP last year as the Dodgers shortstop. He suffered a broken right hand when he was hit by a pitch on May 15 and has been on the injured list since then.
Seager has been at the Dodgers’ spring complex getting back in game shape, and there was talk he could rejoin the club this weekend.
Scherzer could take the spot in the Los Angeles rotation that Trevor Bauer held. MLB and the players’ union put Bauer on administrative leave on July 2 under the sport’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.
Police and MLB are investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against the pitcher, and his leave has been extended through Aug. 6.
Bryant to Giants
When the Chicago Cubs drafted Kris Bryant with the No. 2 pick in 2013, the organization envisioned the third baseman becoming a cornerstone of a franchise enduring a tough rebuild.
Eight years later, with a National League rookie of the year and MVP award, four All-Star honors and a World Series title to his name, Bryant lived up to expectations as he helped usher in one of the winningest eras of Cubs baseball. After trading Anthony Rizzo to the New York Yankees on Thursday, the Cubs reportedly traded Bryant to the San Francisco Giants to officially close that chapter.
When asked trade rumors this week, Bryant sounded ready for all the speculation to be over with.
“Some of this stuff is just exhausting. It really is,” he said after Tuesday’s loss. “And I’m just trying to do my best to keep my focus where it needs to be and help whoever I can along the way here and just take everything in stride. And whatever happens, it’s out of my control.”
Bryant won’t rule out a return to the Cubs if the organization parts ways with the former NL MVP.
The 29-year-old Bryant showed off his defensive versatility this year while still being the Cubs’ best all-around hitter. Bryant started at least 10 games at five different positions — third base, all three outfield spots and first base — and his comfort playing all over the diamond provided manager David Ross flexibility to optimize his lineup daily. Bryant departs the Cubs with 160 career home runs, a .279/.378/.508 slash line in 833 games.
Twins move Berrios
The Twins traded Jose Berrios to the Blue Jays on Friday morning for two prospects.
Berrios, 27, is a two-time All-Star in his sixth season with the Twins, who drafted him in the first round (32nd overall) in 2012 out of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He is 55-43 with a 4.08 ERA in 136 games.
The Twins will get shortstop and outfielder Austin Martin and right handed pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson.
With a career-best 3.48 ERA and 1.044 WHIP this season, Berrios (7-5) has been a standout on an especially subpar pitching staff this season.
The Twins (5.01) and Orioles (5.48) are the only AL teams with ERAs above 5.00.
Mets get Báez from Cubs
The Mets acquired flashy shortstop Javier Báez and pitcher Trevor Williams from the Cubs for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Báez, a two-time All-Star and 2020 Gold Glove winner, gives the NL East leaders an immediate fill-in for injured buddy Francisco Lindor at shortstop. Lindor is sidelined with a strained oblique and isn’t expected back until at least mid-to-late August.
Báez, who can become a free agent after the season, is batting .248 with 22 home runs and 65 RBIs. He has a .775 OPS and 13 stolen bases in 16 tries, but also leads the National League with 131 strikeouts. He has made 18 errors in 88 games.
When Lindor returns, Báez could move to second base or third.
Williams also is a significant part of the deal for the Mets, who were eager to reinforce a thin starting rotation depleted by injuries. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) this season, his first with the Cubs after spending his first five years in Pittsburgh.
►The Nationals completed their final trade of a dizzying sell-off, sending veteran left-hander Jon Lester to the Cardinals. Washington acquired speedy 25-year-old outfielder Lane Thomas from St. Louis.
►The Indians made another trade just before the deadline Friday, sending reliever Phil Maton to the AL West-leading Astros for outfielder Myles Straw.
►The NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers acquired reliever John Curtiss from the Marlins for minor-league catcher Payton Henry.
►The Braves bolstered their depleted outfield by acquiring Adam Duvall from the Marlins for catcher Alex Jackson.
►The Orioles traded right-hander Shawn Armstrong to the Rays for cash.
► The White Sox added Craig Kimbrel from the Cubs in return for top prospect Nick Madrigal and right-handed reliever Codi Heuer.