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Tipsheet: Dodgers get Scherzer, Yankees land Rizzo as market heats up

Tipsheet: Dodgers get Scherzer, Yankees land Rizzo as market heats up

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Cardinals fans dreamed of a midseason addition of Our Town’s Max Scherzer, but he could pick his spot thanks to his no-trade clause.

Scherzer was willing to waive that protection to move onto a contender on the West Coast to finish out his contract. Hello, Los Angeles!

The juggernaut Dodgers outbid the San Diego Padres to get him – and also gained star shortstop Trea Turner in same crazy trade. The rich got richer again.

Scherzer wasn’t eager to leave the Washington Nationals, but he is headed toward free agency and that franchise is facing a big rebuild.

"For me, this is where my family started. I came here without kids and now I have three kids,” Scherzer told reporters Thursday. “I've watched my girls grow up here. Living in Virginia in the DMV area, I've really gotten used to it, all the politics that are going around. Being in the nation's capital has been kind of fun as well, driving by the monuments every day.”

And . . .

“What can you say about the fans? That championship will always mean something to all of us and we'll always have that flag."

Elsewhere on the trade front:

  • Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo seemed like a natural fit for the Boston Red Sox, the team that originally drafted him. But he went to the New York Yankees instead – even after the Team Steinbrenner acquired slugging outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. The Yankees spent outfielder Kevin Alcantara and pitcher Alexander Vizcaino to get Rizzo to replace Our Town’s Luke Voit, who could move on after an injury-marred campaign.
  • Having missed on Rizzo, the Red Sox settled on Kyle Schwarber as the Nationals went into a full sell-off. They also sent closer Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays, helping a team that has been best by bullpen injuries, and pitcher Daniel Hudson to the Padres.
  • The Dodgers also acquired lefty Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals even though he is on the injured list and unlikely to pitch until at least late August. So they are not done shopping for pitching.
  • The Seattle Mariners were buyers and selling, subtracting closer Kendall Graveman in one trade but adding closer Diego Castillo in another. They also traded for starting pitcher Tyler Anderson.

Here’s what folks are writing about all of this:

David Schoenfield, ESPN.com: “The Dodgers' acquisition was a coup in two regards. First, they added two of the best players in the game as they look to defend their title. With Trevor Bauer perhaps unavailable for the rest of the season and Clayton Kershaw still sidelined, they needed rotation reinforcements. The offense -- with Mookie Betts and Corey Seager injured and 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger hitting .160 -- has been inconsistent of late, as evidenced by 2-1 and 5-0 losses to the Giants in the just-completed series that dropped the Dodgers three back in the division race. They can't afford to fall further behind. Secondly, the Dodgers kept Scherzer away from their NL West rivals. Indeed, reports earlier Thursday indicated Scherzer was headed to San Diego. Don't expect A.J. Preller to give up on his pursuit of a starting pitcher, however. The San Diego rotation has struggled of late, ranking 25th in the majors in ERA in July after ranking eighth through the end of June.”

Zach Crizer, Yahoo! Sports: “Like Gallo, Rizzo is left-handed. The duo transforms a Yankees lineup that has been criticized for being one-dimensional. Rizzo, though, is a particular departure from the Yankees' current lineup. His 15.8% career strikeout rate — which mirrors his 2021 output — is among the lowest in the league for players with his power. Since 2017, he has bashed 109 homers and struck out only 13.6% of the time. Only two players who have hit 100 or more homers have a lower K rate over that time. The deal does create the likelihood of more moves for the Yankees. Luke Voit, their former starting first baseman who is on the injured list, seems likely to be a trade candidate himself now. This season is the final year of a 9-year extension Rizzo signed with the Cubs prior to 2013. The Cubs were rumored to be discussing another extension to keep Rizzo in Chicago before striking the deal. The Boston Red Sox were also rumored as a potential destination for Rizzo. Instead, the Yankees are making a bold statement about their intention to overcome a rough first half and claw their way into October.”

R.J. Anderson, CBSSports.com: “The Yankees could use the help. A blowout loss against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday dropped them to 53-48 on the season. They already trailed the second wild card spot by 2 1/2 games entering the day, and they ranked in the bottom-third of all of Major League Baseball in runs scored. That is, to state the obvious, not what the Yankees expected from a lineup that features numerous All-Star talents. According to Sportsline's projections, the Rizzo addition slightly boosts the Yankees' playoff chances, from 30.2 percent to 32.3 percent. Rizzo enjoyed a storied career with the Cubs, making three All-Star Games while winning four Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger. In parts of 10 seasons in Chicago, he recorded a .272/.372/.489 (130 OPS+) slash line with 242 home runs. He was also instrumental in the Cubs' drought-breaking 2016 World Series victory.”

Ginny Searle, Baseball Prospectus: “Doesn’t it feel like the [Eduardo] Escobar era in Arizona lasted longer than three years? Technically, it did, but by exactly one day—the Twins traded the infielder to the desert on July 27, 2018. Though the third and second baseman (he plays shortstop, too, but in what appears the “stand there” way—his two innings there this season were his only as a D’Back) never matched in Arizona the .852 OPS that constituted his breakout in Minneapolis, his .776 OPS there is more than 30 points superior to his career average. DRC+ believes in the late-career breakout, too, with Escobar’s 111 mark this season right in line with his average since age 30. His versatility will be useful to a Milwaukee squad that has struggled to turn in consistent lineups all season—really, Escobar could obviate the need for Daniel Robertson entirely. Even as the Brewers have brought lethal bullpen after lethal bullpen into the playoffs recently, it’s been a struggle to view them as contenders because of inconsistency down the lineup. Escobar can be an important part of shoring that up—though they probably still need a new first baseman, too.”

Micbael Baumann, The Ringer: “Some franchises, like Cleveland and Tampa Bay, have tried to field competitive teams despite ownership restricting their spending to a fraction of what that enterprise ought to take. That requires a near-constant roster turnover; such a club sells off its stars not on the eve of free agency, but several years in advance, and replaces them not with young prospects but MLB-ready players who will be cheap for a few more seasons. It’s not particularly difficult to exploit such a trade partner; in the past two years, the Padres have acquired Frazier, Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, Jake Cronenworth, Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Austin Nola, and Mike Clevinger by trading with teams that are willing to get a little worse if it means they get a lot cheaper. And they’ve had to let go of just one global top-50 prospect in the process: pitcher Luis Patiño. So even though there are enough miscast and disaffected stars to fuel a spirited deadline frenzy this week, it’s unlikely that Bryant or Scherzer or Trevor Story will bring about the kind of prospect return that takes the sting out of their absence. Like the trades themselves, the modern deadline season is more complicated than it used to be. And while it suits the financial interests of ownership, it’s not quite as fun as the good old days.”

MEGAPHONE

"I don't want to look at this as a negative thing. I'd rather look at this as a positive thing. I signed a seven-year deal here and we won a World Series. That's the first thing I said when I signed, that I was here to win. And we won. We won a World Series. That's a lifelong dream come true and something I'll always be proud of with these guys here, to be part of a championship team, looking forward to reunions and stuff like that."

Scherzer, on his time with the Nationals.

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Jeff Gordon is an online sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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