Schwarber, a left fielder recovering from a strained right hamstring, went to the Boston Red Sox for 20-year-old pitcher Aldo Ramirez. Hudson went to San Diego for right-handed pitcher Mason Thompson and shortstop Jordy Barley. There were no cash considerations in the swap of Hand for Adams, according to a person with knowledge of the terms, meaning the Blue Jays will pay the remainder of Hand’s $10.5 million salary, $6.5 million of which is deferred to the next three years. The Dodgers are also expected to take on the money owed to Scherzer and Turner, with the Nationals using the deadline to both better their system and shed some salary obligations.
Schwarber and Hand have two months left on one-year contracts. Hudson is at the end of a two-year, $11 million deal he signed after recording the final out of the World Series in 2019. Schwarber, 28, was the world’s hottest hitter before injuring his hamstring on July 2, bashing 16 homers in a span of 18 games. Hudson, 34 was their most reliable reliever this season, posting a 2.20 ERA in 32 ⅔ innings. And Hand, 31, was their closer for four for months, providing mixed results in steady work.
The club is still weighing offers for utility man Josh Harrison and catcher Yan Gomes, according to people familiar with the discussions. So all in all, it’s a busy and uncertain time for the Nationals (47-55), who trailed the New York Mets by 7 ½ games in the National League East after splitting Thursday’s doubleheader.
“They’re here, and you’re right: In 24 hours they may not be,” Manager Dave Martinez said Thursday of his current roster. “I know [General Manager] Mike [Rizzo] and our front office, they’re working due diligently. If they feel they can get some good pieces to help us in the future, even help us in the near future, there’s a possibility that we might lose some guys.”
In agreed-upon deals with the Dodgers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Padres, the Nationals could welcome eight total prospects: catcher Keibert Ruiz, right-handed pitchers Josiah Gray and Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey from the Dodgers; Ramirez from the Red Sox; Adams from the Blue Jays; and Thompson and Barley from the Padres.
This speaks to the Nationals’ need for catchers and model of collecting young arms. Adams, 25, is widely ranked outside of the top 10 in the Blue Jays’ impressive farm system. He was a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, joining the Blue Jays from the University of San Diego. Adams hit .239 with six doubles, seven homers, 16 walks and 46 strikeouts in 35 games for the Class AAA Buffalo Bisons this year. In 12 games with the Blue Jays, he had three hits in 28 at-bats with 12 strikeouts.
Gonzalez, who has missed time with elbow issues this year, was having a lot of success with the low-Class A Salem Red Sox. That included a 2.03 ERA in 31 innings across eight starts. Thompson, the 23-year-old righty from the Padres, has a big fastball — registering between 95 and 100 — with developing secondary pitches. He has back-end reliever potential, according to a person who regularly saw him in San Diego’s system. He is also 6-foot-7, a trait favored by Washington, and debuted with the Padres in late June. And Barley, a 21-year-old shortstop, had eight homers, 33 steals, a .240 batting average and a .333 on-base percentage with the low-Class A Lake Elsinore Storm in 2021.
Had the Nationals paid out Hand’s salary, they may have upped the prospect return. Same goes for money shouldered by the Dodgers in the deal for Scherzer and Turner, which is still pending medicals for all involved players. But Hand and Scherzer are only two rentals. Schwarber and Hudson are, too. They were always going to take some fliers at this deadline, and whether they succeeded or failed will be determined down the line. But that they are even asking that question — and are ready to scale the benefits of a rebuild — is a notable break from their usual mode.
Chelsea Janes contributed to this report.