How the Nuts Scherzer-Turner deal went a year later originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Nationals dramatically changed the trajectory of their franchise in time for the 2021 trade deadline, arranging six separate deals that sent eight veteran players to playoff contenders in exchange for 12 young players.
No trade was more significant than the one that saw All-Star pairing Max Scherzer and Traya Turner move to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Washington acquired four players with this move, which was noticed by two of the Dodgers’ most promising players at the time, Cabert Ruiz and Josiah Gray. The deal stood out not only because of the high level of players who switched, but also because, under the contract, Turner still had control of the team for a year and a half.
“There’s no shame in taking a step back, refocusing, resetting and starting over, and that’s what we’re gearing up for,” said Nationals Baseball Operations president and general manager Mike Rizzo. a little over an hour after the deadline. “The players we signed today at the trade deadline and the last couple of draft picks we had and the acquisitions we had will be the core of this next championship-level club.”
Saturday marked a year since Washington made the deal. From the Dodgers’ point of view, the profits were big. Scherzer was out during his time in Los Angeles, going 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts, although it ended on a sour note when a “dead hand” prevented him from starting the game that knocked out the Dodgers. playoffs.
Meanwhile, Turner was one of the best hitters in baseball. He entered the game on Friday, leading in hits, which he also accomplished in 2021 (and 2020). Although the Dodgers reportedly did not become a free agent proposal for an extensionLos Angeles can’t be discounted in any bidding war until the ink dries.
For compatriots, the product on the field was far less glamorous. Washington is 52-109 since the 2021 trading deadline, the worst performance among majors. However, the defeat was part of the plan, even if the citizens didn’t intend for it to happen that often. Their focus was on youth development, and it was in this area that Ruiz and Gray excelled.
“As we all know, the result is often what counts in this game,” manager Davey Martinez said at Friday’s pre-match press conference. “When you’re talking about little kids who we think have a bright future, sometimes you have to forget what the results are and let them keep doing what they’re doing, which is part of the growth process.”
The 24-year-old Ruiz has become a potential franchise catcher due to his defensive prowess, ability to throw baserunners, and high contact ratio in the batter’s zone. His .311 on-base percentage this season and lack of strength (three home runs in 77 games) don’t put him at the top of the leaderboards, but the young quarterback showed it. many outbreaks its potential.
The same can be said about the 24-year-old Gray. Through 18 starts this season, the right-hander has a 4.45 ERA and 1,278 WHIP. He also allowed the most home runs in the major leagues, 23 in a year. However, Gray also boasts strong strikeout rates, his slider played at the elite level and he collected periods of dominance.
Thus, neither Ruiz’s catch percentage (30.8%, fourth among catchers with at least 400 innings) nor Gray’s total strikeouts (112, seventh among pitchers aged 25 and under) resulted in numerous wins for the Nationals. But had they not struck a deal to send Scherzer and Turner to the West Coast, the organization could have been in even worse shape.
If the Nationals had stuck with Turner, they could have made more moves in the offseason to improve the baseball club. However, if the 2022 season has illustrated anything, it’s that the citizens have a lot of work to do. all over the diamond. They will likely still be in the same position they are in right now with Josh Bell, trying to maximize profits for a player in control in just two months.
Take Ruiz and Gray off the roster and there will be very few players left in the Nationals who could be potential figures for their next playoff team. One of them, Juan Soto, was the subject of trade rumors over the past two weeks. A weak farm system that simultaneously lost prospects for winning moves and struggled to produce regular players forced the Nationals to consider trading a generation player three years after he became a free agent.
Washington made the difficult decision to blow up the roster, but it turned out to be the right one. If the team had waited longer, there wouldn’t be many parts left to build.
“The sky is the limit for [Ruiz] and Joshua both,” Martinez said. “They are a bright part of our future and we look forward to seeing them grow and mature and help us win games.”