Are Dodgers sending message about Miguel Vargas' future with latest decision?

This seems like a bit of a 180 from the front office.
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Remember not too long ago we were wondering what the Los Angeles Dodgers' course of action was with Michael Busch after the trade deadline passed and he wasn't dealt? Well, now he's up with the big-league roster, while fellow top prospect infielder Miguel Vargas is buried at Triple-A.

Busch got the call to the bigs when rosters expanded and Vargas was left in Oklahoma City. Busch's body of work was superior at the minor-league level and he didn't have a long, underwhelming MLB stint that put him in the dogouse (like Vargas did).

That convinced the Dodgers to reward better performance over prospect pedigree, as they went with Busch for the remainder of the 2023 season. Dave Roberts talked to reporters about the decision over the weekend and it was clear the organization wanted to give both players a fair shake.

Vargas already got his. Now, it's Busch's turn because he remained resilient at Triple-A and has been a human highlight reel for two months. When all is said and done, the Dodgers will have enough of a sample size of both players at the Triple-A and MLB levels to better evaluate their futures.

It very much feels like Vargas won't have a shot to make an impression in September (unless something drastic happens), if we're to read further into Roberts' commentary.

Are Dodgers sending message about Miguel Vargas' future with latest decision?

When Vargas got sent down in early July, he probably didn't think he was immediately auditioning for a return in September and embroiled in a head-to-head competition with Busch, but that's seemingly how the organization was viewing it.

Vargas has been playing well since the demotion, but Busch got even hotter, finishing with a .323 average and 1.046 OPS with 24 homers and 82 RBI in 88 games to push his case over the edge. He's also played a very good second base, which is probably where the Dodgers want to try utilizing him as they try to reconfigure their infield for 2024, with less Mookie Betts and more concrete options moving forward.

Though Vargas flashed good leather at second base in the majors this year, he's a natural third baseman, where he's back to logging reps at OKC. Maybe that'll help his bat at the MLB level if he can be more comfortable on defense? Maybe the Dodgers want to move Busch out of a utility role and see if he can be the everyday second baseman (maybe time to move him off third base after underwhelming showings at both the minor and major league levels)?

Roberts' messaging was blunt, but Vargas isn't being punished or watching his future success wither away. The Dodgers might be reformulating their future picture with two promising talents that will be crucial to balancing their payroll in years to come.

The worst-case scenario is the two turning into offseason trade candidates, but that would require a lot more heavy lifting for a front office that already has a lot on their plate once November arrives.