The Los Angeles Dodgers clearly covet a good amount of their young talent. They're already willing to start Miguel Vargas out of position at the MLB level. Diego Cartaya has been pegged the catcher of the future despite Will Smith's presence. Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone figure to lead the top of this rotation within the next couple years.
But there are others that are seemingly being overlooked. Why does James Outman still not have an Opening Day roster spot, and why doesn't manager Dave Roberts sound convinced he'll get one? Why is Michael Busch already back down at minor-league camp despite there being a need for infield help after Gavin Lux's injury? Valid questions.
Then you have a guy like Ryan Pepiot, who's only going to have a rotation spot because of the injury to Tony Gonsolin. If the Dodgers were really confident in him, wouldn't they have signed another swingman instead of Noah Syndergaard? We're not opposed to that decision, we're just making sense of the team not creating a path for him after his nine-game debut in 2022.
When a fan posited the reality that it's time to play or trade Pepiot, Outman and Busch, here's what Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic had to say (subscription required):
"I think all three are in the big leagues somewhere by the end of this season. Two could reasonably be on the Opening Day roster, with Pepiot a likely option should Tony Gonsolin (ankle) be unable to start the year and Outman still very much in the mix. But there are two sides to this point. One is that, yes, there is a crop of young players who could be quality contributors. It makes sense to play them. The other is that there is some inherent risk in the number of young players you introduce to a big-league roster at the same time. There is increasing volatility each time someone enters the mix. (The Dodgers are also adding Vargas as their everyday second baseman). The Dodgers could leverage some of that upper-crust talent and try to add proven options at the trade deadline."- Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic
So ... is this going to be the beginning of the framework for a Shohei Ohtani trade at the deadline when the Angels inevitably fall out of contention? Are the Dodgers working to ensure they don't have to include all of Cartaya, Miller, Stone and whomever else they might be more enamored with?
Is the 2023 plan to play some of the kids, further develop the others that may not have a future with the Dodgers, and then see where they stand at the deadline before making a potential otherworldly blockbuster? And if not for Ohtani, who might be that appealing come end of July? The list of players in contract years isn't really overflowing with talent.
If the Dodgers are going for it all, then fans are just hoping they'll be ready to overwhelm the Angels more than any other team, by far ... and without compromising the trajectory of a number of young players in 2023.