Washington Nationals: What Would A Trade For Gavin Lux Look Like?
By Max Rayman
When the Trea Turner/Max Scherzer blockbuster trade went down, many Nats fans expected to be receiving Gavin Lux in return. Instead, the Dodgers were able to hold onto the former top prospect, with the Nationals return being centered around Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray.
Lux entered the league full of expectations but has yet to reach his immense ceiling. Now with the acquisition of Turner who has moved to second because Seager is manning short, Lux has been relegated to the bench.
The Dodgers have plenty of questions to answer before the start of free agency, mainly are they going to pay the trio of Corey Seager, Max Scherzer, and Clayton Kershaw? With Bauer’s return to the Dodgers looking more and more unlikely, re-signing Scherzer should be a priority for the Dodgers. Kershaw is a Dodgers mainstay and won’t be going anywhere.
Seager is in line for a massive payday and will be looking to command a contract north of $200 million. With Turner under contract through 2022, the Dodgers are well suited to let Seager walk. But if they want to keep him for the foreseeable future, Turner would continue to man second, making Lux the odd man out.
He is currently on the IL, but when he returns the youngster will be primarily used as a pinch hitter. If the Dodgers no longer see him as part of the future, then they need to trade him and capitalize on his stock. Our friends over at Dodgers Way put together three potential trade proposals for Lux, which got us thinking. Lux would be a perfect fit for the Nats.
If Lux somehow became avaiable the Nationals need to be all in, but what would a projected trade package look like?
Back in 2019, Lux was the number two prospect in baseball and the Dodgers continually made him off-limits in trade talks. Since then, the 23-year-old has 416 MLB ABs under his belt, hitting .221, with 11 homers, 54 RBIs, and an OPS of .656. He has yet to fully get going and needs plenty of reps to fully adapt to MLB pitching.
When he was at Triple-A in 2019, he hit .392, with 13 homers, 39 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.197 in 49 games. On the year, he is hitting a measly .227, with six homers, 37 RBIs, and an OPS of .656. Lux still has immense potential, but unfortunately, with the acquisition of Turner and the Dodgers being in win-now mode, they don’t have the patience for growing pains. Enter the Nationals.
After their trade deadline firesale, the Nationals have finally entered a new era. With a revamped farm system, the Nats are allowing their young players as much time as possible to see if they can stick at the highest level. Taking a flier on Lux would allow for the Nats to add another high reward player who could become a focal point of the lineup for years to come.
For the Nationals, Luis Garcia is seen as the future at second, but Lux is a much better defensive player. In 519 career innings at second, Lux has 14 DRS and a defensive WAR of 1.6. In 82 games this season, he has five outs above average, good for 11th among all second baseman (minimum 10 attempts). Garcia has played some short in his career and can always move positions.
L.A. has arguably the best offense in baseball and no glaring holes defensively. Washington could offer to swap former top prospects in Carter Kieboom and Victor Robles. Robles is already one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, but the 24-year-old continues to look lost at the plate.
Kieboom was on the verge of being called, but with the Nationals starting a rebuild the pressure has been lifted from the youngster. In 57 ABs this season he is hitting .281, with two homers, seven RBIs, and an OPS of .785. The third baseman would be blocked on the depth chart by Justin Turner and would become a bench player.
Instead, the Nationals can offer one of their pitching prospects. Gray, Cade Cavalli, Jackson Rutledge, and Cole Henry are all viewed as the future of the team’s starting rotation and are understandably off-limits. That’s where Andry Lara comes in.
In 29.2 innings at Rookie ball, Lara is 2-2, with a 5.76 ERA, and 40 strikeouts compared to only 10 walks. The 18-year-old is still raw and isn’t projected to reach the show till 2024. His fastball which sits in the mid-90s is his best pitch. As he gets older and puts on muscle, he should experience an uptick in velocity.
Lara is the perfect developmental pitching prospect, but the Dodgers may be looking for MLB-ready talent that can help them win now. That only leaves Patrick Corbin and Josh Bell. Sadly, Corbin is having the worst year of his career, while Bell would be blocked by Max Muncy at first.
Maybe the Nationals could offer to eat the majority of Corbin’s contract. Despite his regression since the start of the 2020 season, Corbin The veteran was pivotal in the Nationals winning the World Series in 2019. That year, he went 14-7, with a 3.25 ERA, 238 strikeouts, and a 3.49 FIP. It is very unlikely this would appeal to the Dodgers.
Other prospects the Nationals could dangle include infielder Yasel Antuna and outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa. Both started this year slow, but have been coming on strong as of late. While this may not seem like the biggest return for Lux, his trade stock has taken a hit since he arrived in the bigs.
Lux would be a perfect candidate for the Nationals to buy high on and they should explore a trade for him come this off-season.