The dismantling of the Nationals’ 2021 roster continued into the night when general manager Mike Rizzo struck deals to send Kyle Schwarber to the Red Sox and Daniel Hudson to the Padres in exchange for three more prospects in total, this only hours after agreeing to a blockbuster trade that will send Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers, this after starting the day by shipping Brad Hand to the Blue Jays.
The trade deadline doesn’t arrive until 4 p.m. Friday, but the Nats might well be done before everyone goes to bed tonight, capping off one of the wildest weeks in club history with one of the most significant days since the franchise arrived in town in 2005.
The deal that will send Scherzer and Turner to Los Angeles for four players (including the Dodgers top two prospects) is the headliner, but tonight’s subsequent trades also show Rizzo’s intent to pull off a full-scale sale and attempt to rebuild his depleted farm system for the first time in years.
Turner is the lone player dealt so far who was under club control beyond this season. The rest are free-agents-to-be, and that list now includes Schwarber and Hudson.
Schwarber, whose June home run binge brought the Nationals back into contention before he suffered a significant hamstring strain and watched the club fall apart throughout July, is headed to Boston in exchange for minor league right-hander Aldo Ramirez.
Ramirez, 20, had a 2.03 ERA in eight starts for the Red Sox’s low Single-A affiliate in Salem, with 32 strikeouts and eight walks in 31 innings. Rated as that organization’s 19th-best prospect by MLBPipeline.com, Ramirez originally was signed as a 16-year-old out of the Mexican League.
Schwarber, who remains on the 10-day injured list and is still at least two weeks away from being ready to play, leaves Washington after four memorable months that saw him hit 25 homers (16 of those during an 18-game stretch in June) with 53 RBIs and a .910 OPS in 72 games to earn the first All-Star selection of his career.
Hudson departs after two highly memorable years with the Nationals and a permanent place in the franchise’s lore for his role in helping secure its first championship. Acquired from the Blue Jays in a 2019 deadline deal, he went on to supplant Sean Doolittle as the team’s closer and recorded the final outs in the National League wild card game, NL Championship Series and World Series.
Re-signed that winter to a two-year, $11 million deal, Hudson struggled in 2020 but bounced back strong this season and posted a 2.20 ERA and 0.918 WHIP in 31 games as the club’s primary setup man. The 34-year-old was placed on the COVID-19 IL this morning along with three teammates, and he won’t be allowed to join the Padres until he has completed his quarantine period and tested negative multiple times.
The deal that sent Hudson to San Diego for right-hander Mason Thompson and infielder Jordy Barley was officially announced at 1:11 a.m. Thompson, 23, has modest numbers in five minor-league seasons but made his major league debut late last month and was scored upon in only one of his four appearances for the Padres, rating as their ninth-best prospect. Barley, 21, led San Diego’s farm system with 33 stolen bases to go along with a .240 batting average, eight doubles, eight homers, 28 RBIs and 43 runs scored for low-Single-A Lake Elsinore.
As Friday’s deadline approaches, the Nationals are still soliciting offers for their other veterans in the final year of their contracts, a list that includes catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Josh Harrison.