The Los Angeles Dodgers have had an up-and-down first half that still puts the team tied in first place in the National League West with the Arizona Diamondbacks. As bad as it has seemed at times, the Dodgers will still control their own destiny in the second half.
The 2023 season was viewed as a soft reset for the Dodgers as they parted ways with several fan favorites in order to give young players a chance to play every day. James Outman took full advantage of that early on before cooling off, while Miguel Vargas never really took off for the team.
After a rocky first half that saw many more low points than high points, the Dodgers have decided to option Miguel Vargas down to AAA to work on his game. The move became official on Sunday, one day after the team finished the first half with a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.
Dodgers fans have been asking for this move so that Vargas can refine his swing while also opening the door for another young prospect, Michael Busch, to get an extended chance at the big-league club. After all, Vargas is hitting .195 at the MLB level while Busch is hitting .311 in AAA. The switch seemed obvious.
That being said, Vargas going down to OKC isn't actually going to give Dodgers fans their wish of Michael Busch. Instead, Vargas being sent down to AAA is opening the door for another Dodger to get consistent playing time.
Miguel Vargas being optioned by the Dodgers is to make room for Chris Taylor, not Michael Busch
Chris Taylor is currently on the 15-day IL but it appears that he will be ready to return for the team's first series of the second half against the New York Mets. Taylor is scheduled to play a rehab game with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Sunday night after Dave Roberts already confirmed that he expected Taylor to return after the break.
LA's current active roster sits at 25 players after Vargas and Bryan Hudson were optioned, leaving room for Taylor to be activated off of the IL and get reps in the infield for the Dodgers. Taylor will likely play the bulk of his innings at shortstop with Mookie Betts playing more second base in the second half.
So why aren't the Dodgers giving Busch a chance? Busch also struggled in his small stint with the big-league club and he is arguably the team's most tradeable prospect heading into the deadline. Busch looks a lot better getting consistent at-bats (and producing) in AAA than he does sitting the bench and struggling at the MLB level.
Meanwhile, Vargas will get the opportunity to start every single night down in Oklahoma City as he works on his swing to try and get back to the big-league roster for the team's playoff push.