Major League Baseball’s trade deadline for the 2021 season is this Friday, July 30. Teams in contention have only a few more days to make trades to bolster their rosters, while lagging teams start looking to next season—and may be willing to make lucrative trades.
Where does that leave the Washington Nationals? The team currently has a losing 45-54 record and is in fourth place in the National League East division, meaning that stronger teams may come calling, interested in high-profile trades. Will the Nats be willing to deal?
Nats pitching ace Max Scherzer has been called “one of the biggest trade chips in baseball.” Scherzer, 37, has a winning 7-4 record and 2.83 ERA for the season so far. Nats beat writer Jessica Camerato wrote for MLB.com that at the deadline, the team’s best move is to “explore all options for Scherzer.” Some diehard fans, though, may bemoan the idea of letting go of Scherzer.
The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty tweeted that Scherzer does not plan on invoking his 10-and-5 rights (which allow a player with at least 10 years in the majors, with the past five consecutive years on the same team, the right to veto a trade to stay with their current team). If he were to be traded, Scherzer reportedly “strongly prefers the West Coast,” according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
One team that might be interested in Scherzer is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Juan Toribio, the Dodgers beat reporter for MLB.com, wrote that the Dodgers’ best move this week would be to trade for Scherzer, because the team is trying to strengthen its pitching rotation. However, SNY’s Andy Martino noted that the New York Mets are also inquiring about trading for Scherzer, and ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Tampa Bay Rays are having “preliminary discussions” about Scherzer. While early odds were that Scherzer would still stick with the Nats, some say he’s most likely to go to the Mets.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic went so far as to say that not only should the Nats trade Scherzer, but they should also trade relieving pitchers Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson, infielder Josh Harrison, catcher Yan Gomes, and outfielder Kyle Schwarber. The Toronto Blue Jays have apparently inquired about potential trades for Hand and Hudson, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Nats have also received interest for shortstop Trea Turner, according to The Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes, but she clarified that the team “would need to be presented with a total no-brainer of a deal.” Turner’s existing contract has him with the Nats for one more year.