As we finally close the books on 2021, we asked our followers on Twitter what do they think was the biggest storyline for the Washington Nationals in 2021, and according to our followers, the biggest Washington Nationals storyline for 2021 was Trea Turner and Max Scherzer heading to the LA Dodgers at the trade deadline in July and we couldn’t agree more.
During last year’s offseason and spring we raised the idea of the Nationals trading Max Scherzer, at the trade deadline if the Nationals weren’t competing for a playoff spot, and let’s say the reaction on social media wasn’t too friendly. We got it, Max Scherzer was and will always be a vital part of the last 7 years in Washington. Scherzer was a vital part of the 2019 World Series team and it made sense that people/fans would be upset that he would leave D.C. and play for another team, however, with the Nationals not in sort of position to make a run at the postseason and Scherzer’s contract set to. expire, the team made the right choice in trading him to a team that had the prospects and wanted to win a World Series.
Related Article: Is it time to think about trading Max Scherzer?
During his seven years in Washington D.C. Scherzer had a win-loss record of 92-47 with an ERA of 2.80 and started in 189 games, struck out 1,610 batters, and only gave up 149 home runs, that is incredible. He also won two Cy-Young awards, had two perfect games, and when he faced his old team the Detroit Tigers he struck out a record 20 batters during one game. He made everyone in the baseball world look foolish when they said that the contract that he got to come to D.C. was going to be the worst signing ever, which ended up being wrong.
Related Article: Perspective: Trade Max Scherzer and… Trea Turner?
Trading Trea Turner at the trade deadline was a bit of a surprise to many as observers believed that the Nationals should have tied up the MVP-caliber shortstop and start the “re-tool” of the team around Turner and Soto. However, there were some who thought that if the Nationals couldn’t extend Turner, then the team should also trade Turner who currently has another year on his contract. During his seven years with the Nationals, he had 103 home runs, 334 RBI’s played in over 3,000 games which gave him an OPS of .850, a slugging percentage of .492, and a batting average of .303. Back on July 30th, Rizzo noted how important players who were part of the Nationals team over the past ten years meant to the organization.
Related Article: Perspective: The Great Rizzo Reboot of 2021
In exchange for Scherzer and Turner, the Nationals the Dodgers sent the Nationals four prospects: 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.
What makes the trades of both Turner and Scherzer the most important story of the 2021 season for the Washington Nationals was that the team did something that they have never experienced since arriving in Washington D.C. in 2005. The Nationals in the past dealt away players who played a role with the team, however, it wasn’t until the Nationals traded away both Scherzer and Turner that the team traded away players who had a huge impact on the team.
“We got everything out of this group that we could’ve gotten out of it, and we reached the highest level,” Rizzo said shortly after 4 p.m. on July 30. “For 10 straight years, we’ve competed with the best and brightest in baseball. We were as good as anybody in the game. We won four division titles. We made the playoffs five times. We won the World Series with this group. There’s no shame in having to take a step back, refocus, reboot, and start the process again, and that’s what we’re preparing to do.”
While the early results of the trade do look to be in favor of the Nationals, as the Dodgers were unable to capitalize on acquiring both Turner and Scherzer as they lost in playoffs in the NLCS against the eventual World Series Winner the Atlanta Braves (doesn’t that sound familiar?), and were unable to sign Scherzer to a long term deal to ensure that he stays in Dodger Blue for the rest of his career, and we will wait and see what happens with Turner when his contract is over.
Related Article: Former Washington Nationals Ace Max Scherzer signs with the New York Mets per Reports
While the Nationals were able to start to rebuild their starting rotation with the acquisition of Right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray and reinforce a much-needed position in catcher by acquiring catcher Keibert Ruiz. While the era of the 2019 Washington Nationals might be officially over, a new era of Nationals baseball has been started with these trades.