The future begins Friday when the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs open a three-game series in Washington, D.C.
Both teams cashed in the present Thursday when they began exchanging veterans for prospects as the Friday MLB trade deadline approached.
Washington was poised to make perhaps the biggest splash. The Nationals began the day by sending closer Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays for 25-year-old power-hitting catcher Riley Adams.
Then late Thursday night the Nationals acquired right-handed minor league pitcher Aldo Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Kyle Schwarber. Washington shortly followed by reportedly moving righty reliever Daniel Hudson to the San Diego Padres for a pair of prospects, speedy infielder Jordy Barley and right-hander Mason Thompson.
And the Nationals were working on a blockbuster that would send ace right-hander Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Washington would reportedly receive L.A.'s top two prospects -- catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-hander Josiah Gray -- as well as right-hander Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey.
Turner, 28, is signed thru 2022 while Scherzer is finishing up a seven-year contract during which he went 92-47 with a 2.80 ERA, 1,610 strikeouts, two Cy Young Awards, two no-hitters and a World Series title.
Other Nationals who could depart before Friday's game include infielder Josh Harrison and first baseman Josh Bell.
"I know (general manager Mike Rizzo) and our front office; they're working diligently," manager Dave Martinez said Thursday. "If they feel that they can get some good pieces to help us in the future, even help us in the near future, it's a possibility that we might lose some guys. But they're constantly working."
The Cubs sent All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees for right-hander Alexander Vizcaino and outfielder Kevin Alcantara, both minor leaguers. They also traded right-hander Ryan Tepera to the Chicago White Sox for left-hander Bailey Horn.
Kris Bryant, closer Craig Kimbrel and shortstop Javier Baez remain trade possibilities.
"[I know] that's the storyline," manager David Ross said of the trade rumors. "I literally don't come in to work on a daily basis thinking about who's going to be traded or who's not. I try to still take care of my players."
Right-hander Trevor Williams (4-2, 5.06 ERA) starts the opener for the Cubs. Williams threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win against the Diamondbacks in his last time out, allowing five hits and striking out six.
"I feel like he's got such a unique fastball, if he's able to throw his offspeed for strikes and then hides that fastball to use a little bit later in the counts, I feel like that benefits him," Ross said. "I thought he did a nice job of that today, just getting ahead with the offspeed in the zone."
Williams allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision against the Nationals on May 20.
Rizzo watched his final game as a Cub from the bench as the Cubs dropped their third straight game, 7-4 to the Reds.
The Nationals haven't announced a starter for Friday's opener. They split a doubleheader with the Phillies, winning the opener 3-1 in Scherzer's 92nd victory as a National.
The nightcap was the latest Washington disaster. The Nationals built a 7-0 lead and ended up losing 11-8 on a walk-off grand slam by Brad Miller in the eighth inning off Sam Clay, who walked pinch hitter Aaron Nola (a pitcher by trade) earlier in the inning.
"That's a tough loss," Martinez said. "Can't walk guys in a crucial situation. The walks hurt us."
The Nationals have given up a league-high 11 grand slams.
Washington played without Turner, who along with Hudson, catcher Alex Avila, and right-handed pitcher Austin Voth, were placed on the injured list after the team's second COVID-19 outbreak of the season.
--Field Level Media