After the Dodgers announced a signing of Teoscar Hernández atop their filled 40-man roster, we knew changes would be coming soon if the team wanted to make space for another starting pitcher. On Thursday, a flurry of news dropped surrounding a Dodgers-Cubs trade amidst all other arbitration-related noise, with reliever Yency Almonte named first as a send-off to Chicago.
Jeff Passan was on the full trade, which will see Almonte and longtime Dodgers top prospect Michael Busch head to the Cubs in return for prospects -- pitcher Jackson Ferris and outfielder Zyhir Hope -- which solves the full roster problem by freeing up two spots.
Both Ferris and Hope do not need to be protected on the 40-man, so now the Dodgers have some flexibility. Almonte and Busch both required 40-man spots heading into 2024.
Dodgers-Cubs 4-player trade on arbitration day marks end of Michael Busch in LA
Almonte settled on a $1.9 million figure to avoid salary arbitration with the Dodgers back in November, while Busch is still firmly under team control in his pre-arb years. Busch, a first-round draft pick, peaked as the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect on MLB Pipeline, but underperformed in 27 games in 2023, hitting .167/.247/.292. The Cubs will be getting a player who still has a lot of potential and will probably get more playing time in Chicago than he would in the Dodgers' stacked lineup.
Ferris was the Cubs' No. 8 prospect last year and pitched to a 3.38 ERA in A-ball. Hope didn't crack the Cubs' top 30, but batted a very nice .286/.419/.543 with three home runs, nine RBI, and three stolen bases in just 11 games at the rookie level in 2023.
The trade solves some the roster problem for the Dodgers and will possibly give the players they traded away more room to shine outside of an organization that's by no means hurting for talent.