The Dodgers’ blockbuster acquisition of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner was the biggest news of deadline season, though Los Angeles wasn’t the only NL West power looking to land that same duo from the Nationals. The Padres were reportedly close to getting Scherzer, and FanSided’s Robert Murray writes that San Diego also had “strong interest” in obtaining Turner.
Despite all these talks, there still seemed to be some distance between the Padres and Nationals in talks. Murray writes that “a deal was never close” for Turner, while even the Scherzer negotiations were described by one Washington source as “general back and forth.”
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman shed some more light on the Padres/Nationals talks, reporting that the Padres “floated a serious package” for both Scherzer and Turner, “with the idea of offering even more if Nats came back to them.” Washington apparently didn’t check back in with the Padres, instead taking the Dodgers’ offer of Keibert Ruiz, Josiah Gray, Gerardo Carrillo, and Donovan Casey. As a counter to Ruiz, San Diego’s offer might have also included a top-tier catching prospect, as Heyman says the Padres and Nationals discussed Luis Campusano.
Had Turner landed in San Diego, the initial plan likely would have been to install him at second base, just as the Dodgers did in order to fit both Turner and incumbent star shortstop Corey Seager into the same lineup. Turner and Fernando Tatis Jr. would have formed quite a combo up the middle for the Padres, though Turner would have ended up playing shortstop anyway, if Tatis had also re-injured his shoulder in this alternate reality. Turner might have also been the shortstop anyway, had a healthy Tatis instead been moved to the outfield in order to help preserve his shoulder.
Should Scherzer and Turner help the Dodgers win this year (or in 2022 when Turner will still be under contract), Padres fans will look back on this missed trade with regret, though of course it isn’t known exactly what the Nationals would have demanded from San Diego. The Dodgers and Padres are currently on pace to meet in the NL wild card game, with Los Angeles holding a three-game lead over San Diego in the standings. The Padres also have to worry about the surging Reds, who have moved to 3.5 games back of that second wild card berth.