The Los Angeles Dodgers are finalizing a deal to acquire star right-hander Max Scherzer and star shortstop Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals for a massive prospect haul, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Thursday.
The Dodgers will currently send the Nationals four prospects, a source confirmed to Passan: Right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray, catcher Keibert Ruiz, right-handed pitcher Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey.
Gray and Ruiz were rated by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel as the Dodgers’ top two prospects entering the season.
Gray was ranked No. 36 among the top 100 prospects in MLB entering the season, according to McDaniel. Ruiz was ranked No. 74.
Scherzer is 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts this season. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to become a free agent after 2021.
Scherzer had the right to block any trade because of his 10-and-5 rights (10 years of major league service time and five with the same team) but was reportedly open to going to the West Coast and has signed off on joining the Dodgers.
He is owed $35 million in the final year of his seven-year, $210 million contract, but the final three years of that deal will be paid in deferrals from 2022 to 2018.
Turner, an All-Star this season, is batting .322 with 18 home runs and 49 RBIs. Now in his seventh season, he is a career .300 hitter. Turner exited Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning following a positive test for the coronavirus.
The 28-year-old Turner has been an everyday shortstop over the last five years but started 44 games in center field and another 25 at second base at second base in 2016. With Corey Seager expected to come off the injured list this weekend — along with Mookie Betts — Turner seems more likely to get everyday at-bats at the latter two positions. Slotting him in center field would allow Cody Bellinger, who has struggled to a .556 OPS this season, to move over to left field and share time with A.J. Pollock, potentially forming a platoon.
The Dodgers went into the week aggressive in their pursuit of starting pitching and were also engaged with the Minnesota Twins on Jose Berrios, who is controllable for an additional year. Scherzer slots in at the top of the rotation, joining a staff that also includes Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, David Price, Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw, who could come off the injured list by Aug. 7.
Starting pitching became a sudden need for Los Angeles, given the uncertainty surrounding the high-priced Trevor Bauer, who is fighting sexual-assault allegations and has had his administrative leave extended three separate times. Bauer’s case is under criminal investigation; the civil hearing for the temporary restraining order that was obtained against him is scheduled for Aug. 16 to 19.
Danny Duffy, acquired from the Kansas City Royals earlier on Thursday, can also help out in the rotation but is expected to be used as a dynamic multi-inning reliever, occupying a role similar to the one Urias filled in recent years.
ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report.