6 questions after Dodgers' Deadline deals

July 31st, 2021

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said there were a lot of “ups and downs” leading up to Friday’s Trade Deadline. By the time the dust settled at 1 p.m. PT, there was plenty to celebrate as Friedman, once again, positioned the Dodgers to make a run at a World Series title.

The big move for the Dodgers was a megadeal that landed them three-time Cy Young Award winner and All-Star shortstop for top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz, top pitching prospect Josiah Gray, outfielder Donovan Casey and right-hander Gerardo Carrillo.

To make things sweeter, the Dodgers also acquired left-hander from the Royals in exchange for a player to be named later.

By getting Scherzer, Turner and Duffy, the Dodgers are unquestionably the most talented team in the Majors -- on paper, at least. But even with an absurd amount of talent on the roster, the Dodgers have some questions to answer with two months left in the regular season.

Where does Trea Turner fit in?
Adding Turner instantly makes the Dodgers better, but finding a fit for him is tricky. Turner is one of the best-hitting shortstops in the Majors. The issue is that the Dodgers have another top-hitting shortstop in , who returned from the 60-day injured list on Friday.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Friedman hesitated to lay out the plan for both players until they’re able to meet with Turner, who is on the COVID-19 IL after testing positive on July 27.

When the two sides finally meet, they’ll have to decide which player gets the majority of playing time at shortstop. It’s an incredible problem to have, but it’s still a decision the team needs to make. Seager has been the Dodgers’ shortstop for years now, and he led the franchise to their first championship since 1988 as World Series MVP.

“Corey’s been our shortstop for many years,” Roberts said. “Trea is right there in that same caliber of very small [number of] shortstop. So I’m going to talk to him and kind of figure out where the best fit is for him and our club. Right now, he’s a Dodger, Corey’s a Dodger, it’s about winning and we’ll put the pieces together.”

One of the pieces the Dodgers can put together is moving Turner around between shortstop, second base and center field. Obviously, that would create some more playing time issues, as and have been the team’s regulars at those positions.

It’ll be an interesting decision for the Dodgers. But one thing is certain: They got much better by adding Turner and have far more depth than they did last week.

Where does Scherzer fit in?
This is an obvious fit. Scherzer slides right into the top of the rotation, joining , and . The three-time Cy Young Award winner will make his first start as a Dodger on Wednesday against the Astros at Dodger Stadium.

In the case that the Dodgers don’t win the National League West, Scherzer gives the club another option in the one-game Wild Card round. But maybe just as importantly, it took him from the Giants and Padres, who could’ve used him in the same situation.

A source told MLB.com that an American League East team had a deal in place to land Scherzer from the Nats, but the right-hander preferred playing in California and preferably Los Angeles.

What about Duffy’s fit?
Duffy's first step is getting healthy and recovering from a left flexor strain. The hope is that the left-hander will be able to return at some point in early September. His recovery will ultimately dictate what his role will be.

If Duffy recovers well, the Dodgers could opt to build him up as a starter and add him to the rotation as their fifth starter. If not, Duffy would go into the bullpen as a key multi-inning reliever -- one the Dodgers see as a big piece come October.

Why didn’t the Dodgers add any bullpen help?
The Dodgers were active in conversations to add bullpen help, including checking in on Craig Kimbrel and Raisel Iglesias, sources tell MLB.com. But with Scherzer and Duffy in the fold, the Dodgers feel comfortable with what they currently have in the bullpen.

remains the team’s closer and that isn’t expected to change. is as dominant as any pitcher in the eighth inning. The club is also expecting right-hander back from injury within the next two weeks. That essentially serves as a Deadline addition for the Dodgers.

Los Angeles is also hoping that and continue to develop as high-leverage relievers. Both have struggled this season, but were effective in 2020.

Come postseason time, , and Duffy could also serve as relievers. Or they could even ask Urías to play the same role he did in last year’s postseason.

What’s the Dodgers’ projected lineup?
The Dodgers are going to change things up on a daily basis, but let’s try and picture what the team’s lineup will look like when Turner and return to the active roster.

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Trea Turner, 2B
3. , 3B
4. , 1B
5. , C
6. Corey Seager, SS
7. , CF
8. , LF

Regardless of the order, that’s a loaded lineup and it doesn’t include Taylor, who will surely find his way into most lineups, as he’s been a key piece in the Dodgers’ success this season. Roberts said he’ll have a lot of fun filling out the lineup card, but he’s going to have plenty of tough decisions.

Which prospects were they able to keep?
The Dodgers gave up four prospects for Scherzer and Turner, but they were still able to hold on to most of their top prospects.

Ryan Pepiot, Bobby Miller and Landon Knack were the three prospects that nearly every team asked for, but the Dodgers would quickly tell teams that they weren’t looking to deal the trio of arms. Scouts believe Pepiot has the best changeup in the Dodgers’ system and could be a starting option as early as next season. Miller and Knack were the Dodgers’ top two picks in the 2020 Draft and have impressed in their first Minor League season.

The Dodgers were also able to keep catching prospect Diego Cartaya, who was the focus for the Nationals in the early stages of conversations, a source told MLB.com. But the Dodgers believe Cartaya’s ceiling is very high.

Following the trade with the Nationals, second baseman Michael Busch is the top-rated prospect in the Dodgers’ system, per MLB Pipeline. Third baseman Kody Hoese, Miller, Cartaya and Pepiot round out the top five.