On Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers took MLB by surprise by announcing a contract extension for Max Muncy, who, despite a recent hot streak, has largely struggled in 2022. Muncy was slated for an uncertain offseason with a team option, but the Dodgers instead guaranteed that for him and tacked on another team option for 2024.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman talked about why the decision was made, revealing the organization has positively reinforced the slugger despite his below-average production because there’s still belief he can be one of the most valuable players on the team. Very nice stuff.
Either way, Muncy is now guaranteed a roster spot next season, which perhaps changes some things. Initially, there was some loose belief among fans his team option might’ve been declined due to his poor play to create further financial flexibility to make room for a Trea Turner extension. Then again, the Dodgers saving $13 million means nothing to them. It’s more worthwhile to them to give Muncy peace of mind and a shot at earning more money in 2024.
Still, though, his presence in 2023 affects a few current Dodgers, which may create new avenues or have the team preparing for other departures. You can never be so sure from year to year. Look at what’s happened from June 2021 to June 2022. Fans couldn’t have logically predicted any of that.
To prepare for more uncertainly, here’s the ripple effect Muncy’s extension may have on others in the organization.
3 Dodgers most affected by Max Muncy’s contract extension
3. Michael Busch
Alright, so what does this mean for top prospect Michael Busch? There was seemingly a clear path laid out for him with Muncy’s departure on the table, but now he’ll possibly be competing for reps with Muncy, Gavin Lux, Chris Taylor, Justin Turner (maybe) and Miguel Vargas in 2023? That seems like a steep climb.
Is Busch about to become offseason trade bait? Are the Dodgers willing to kick the can down the road with a promising utility infielder and just wait for Jorbit Vivas? Busch has been putting up nice numbers at Triple-A Oklahoma City, but why didn’t he get a shot alongside Vargas and James Outman when injuries rocked the roster?
You would’ve thought there was a plan for Busch when the roster expanded, but with guys like Blake Treinen, Clayton Kershaw, Yency Almonte and Tommy Kahnle on the mend, is there even room, especially with Outman and Vargas likely holding the upper hand?
Most of Busch’s minor-league reps have come at second base, and that’s pretty much 30% of Muncy’s job description in 2022. If he’s here still playing second, third and DH in 2023, then where does Busch fit into the picture?