In 2021, Varland was traded to the Dodgers from the A's, but he only spent two years in the minors with LA before being nabbed by the Brewers during the 2022 Rule 5 draft. He spent a year in their farm system, with occasional call-ups to the majors, before being DFA'ed the day after a very rough major league outing against the Cardinals. He was grabbed off of waivers by the Dodgers, who he pitched 11 2/3 innings for in 2023. Those innings were a lot less disastrous than his 8 2/3 with the Brewers (3.09 ERA with LA vs. 11.42 with Milwaukee), but they might not be enough to justify his place on the 40-man.
The Dodgers do love themselves a fixer-upper, especially when it comes to pitchers, and Varland might've looked promising enough in those innings for LA that the Dodgers might keep him to give him more opportunities to rehabilitate and prove himself, but there are other options that they could turn to. Nos. 3 and 9 prospects Nick Frasso and Landon Knack will both be at spring training, and Knack is reportedly expected to make his MLB debut this season. The Dodgers bullpen features some fantastic talent in Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, and Joe Kelly, and getting another reliever who could outperform Varland would give them more depth and take some pressure off of those three pitchers.