1. Max Scherzer
No surprise here! Dodgers fans have been fantasizing about this for quite some time now, simply hoping that the Washington Nationals would fall flat on their face. That wild run from Kyle Schwarber was a bit scary, wasn’t it? The Nats were just two games out of first place in the NL East amid their hot streak, and then Schwarber hit the IL.
Now, they’re 42-47 and six games back of the first-place Mets. Time to sell? Not exactly, but there are 14 games before the trade deadline and they’ll need to act fast. Hey, Padres, why don’t you help us out? Washington hosts San Diego for a three-game set right out of the break and a sweep there could convince general manager Mike Rizzo to wave the white flag.
If that does happen, the Dodgers must be the first and only call to the Nationals. Surrender whatever it makes to acquire Scherzer, who just started the All-Star Game and still remains one of the best pitchers in MLB despite being 36 years old. The three-time Cy Young winner just won the World Series two seasons ago and experienced his first sub-par campaign in the shortened 2020 since … 2012? 2011? He’s still the real deal.
With May and Bauer expected to be out for the rest of the way and Kershaw’s elbow troubles likely remaining a chief concern, the Dodgers need another ace, which seems insane to say because they came into the 2021 season with the undisputed best rotation in baseball. Now it’s Walker Buehler and Julio Urias carrying the load alongside Tony Gonsolin and a bunch of bullpenners. That won’t work in October.
Scherzer owns a 2.66 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 3.31 FIP in 17 starts (98 innings) totaling 134 strikeouts. His numbers are inflated, too, after that outing against San Diego in which he gave up a fluke grand slam to a relief pitcher and allowed a season-high seven earned runs in just 3.2 innings of work. He’s twirled quality starts against the Dodgers (twice), Cardinals, Yankees, Reds, Brewers, Phillies, Marlins and Diamondbacks.
Simply put, this is the blockbuster move the Dodgers must make if it’s an option. Assuming Kershaw can get back on track, bringing in Scherzer would probably put the hype train right back where it was on Opening Day.