“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”-Fred Rogers (I’m kidding, it was Sun Tzu but…you thought it was Mr. Rogers for a second)
Los Angeles Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman did not sit out the baseball trade deadline quietly. In one fell swoop, he may have turned the Dodgers season around, turned the NL West upside down, and once again grabbed the crown as the best executive in baseball.
When news broke that the San Diego Padres might acquire starting pitcher Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals, Friedman pounced like a proto-Michael Corleone and “decided to settle all family business” reminding the rest of baseball where the power lies.
Friedman made the deal to take Scherzer away from the Padres and also bring in Trea Turner, and with one move the Dodgers added to their World Series pedigree by acquiring two key pieces from the Nationals cinderella title run in 2019.
Andrew Friedman saved the Dodgers with this Scherzer-Turner blockbuster.
Enough about the Dodgers “ruining baseball” by buying endless talent; this was a necessary move. Scherzer immediately bolsters a starting staff that has had to plug in a bullpen game every fifth day due to the season-ending injury to Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw’s extended stay on the IL, and the disaster that is the Trevor Bauer signing.
Scherzer can now plug the gaping hole in the Dodgers rotation for their run to the baseball playoffs, and come October, the Dodgers can match up rotations with any team they may face.
The real coup of the proposed deal may have been the inclusion of Turner; while the deal was being made, the Dodgers were being shut out by their rivals, the San Francisco Giants, 5-0. It would be the fifth time in their last 10 games where the Dodgers scored two runs or less.
Again, essential. Not luxury.
With Turner in tow, the Dodgers can now plug in his .322 average and his .890 OPS at shortstop or second base and at the top of the lineup to torment pitching staffs, with the added bonus that both Corey Seager and Mookie Betts will be back soon.
Turner can turn a game with his speed, having stolen 21 of 24 bases and placing in the top 10 in runs with 66. Lest you doubt Friedman’s intelligence, Turner is also signed through the 2022 season, meaning the team has a backup plan if Seager leaves in free agency or if the team wants to package prospect Gavin Lux for another bat or bullpen help.
Dodgers fans may be angry about what Friedman gave up in the deal, their No. 1 prospect in Keibert Ruiz and No. 1 pitching prospect in Josiah Gray. Their angst should be soothed, as Freidman did not give up pitchers Bobby Miller or Ryan Pepiot or even Diego Cartaya, who may be a better catching prospect than Ruiz.
Even after that, if fans still doubt Friedman’s acumen, they should remember this: in 2018, after the Dodgers lost their second straight World Series, Friedman packaged Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Cincinnati Reds for Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. Using those two prospects, among others, Friedman has acquired Betts, David Price, Scherzer, and Turner over the last two years.
If you still doubt Andrew Friedman’s supremacy, then I feel sorry for you, because when it comes to the Dodgers, he and his staff are proving you wrong time and time again.