Though the Los Angeles Dodgers ended up getting some value in return for No. 2 prospect Michael Busch, fans would agree the trade with the Chicago Cubs last week wasn't exactly inspiring. The Dodgers replenished the top-five prospect spot vacated by Busch and added another promising talent (though outside the organization's top 30).
In the end, Busch probably should've returned more (in theory), but his poor showing at the MLB level coupled with his potentially inflated stats in a hitter's haven Pacific Coast League might've finally had opposing teams not fall for another Andrew Friedman fleece.
Turns out, the Chicago White Sox were reportedly among the bunch. LA is said to have attempted to pitch Busch as the centerpiece in trade talks for Dylan Cease and it was a no go. The Dodgers went as far to try and get a third team involved to acquire Cease, but that didn't work either.
Friedman had to clear roster space to make room for Teoscar Hernandez, so the clock was ticking. He ultimately dealt Busch to the Cubbies and freed up two 40-man spots because newcomers Jackson Ferris and Zyhir Hope didn't need to be protected.
What a turnaround that was, though. The Dodgers tried to use Busch to get Cease, but ended up only getting a top-five prospect (and overall lesser value) for the slugger.
Dodgers Rumors: Did Dylan Cease trade talks reveal Michael Busch's low value?
Critics will say the Dodgers' farm system is frequently overrated because every time they flip assets to other teams, those prospects almost never pan out. Outside of Yordan Alvarez and Oneil Cruz, almost every single trade the Dodgers have made under Friedman has worked out in LA's favor.
The deals for Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Rich Hill, Josh Reddick, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts didn't feature a single instance in which LA possessed any feeling of regret. Josiah Gray was probably the best player traded out of that group, and he's got a career 4.64 ERA at the big-league level.
Friedman has long been able to hold onto the Dodgers' top talent while trading the next tier of players in blockbuster deals, but that trend has seemingly been bucked after the Turner-Scherzer deal. The Dodgers couldn't get away with acquiring Tyler Glasnow without paying the price -- they surrendered Ryan Pepiot in that trade while inheriting Manuel Margot's $12 million salary.
Busch seemed to be the next guy in line that had promising enough Triple-A numbers (but minimal MLB value, or general value to the Dodgers) to be shipped out in exchange for a star player. But Friedman couldn't get away with it this time around thanks to the White Sox's desperation to get the best possible package in return for arguably their best remaining asset.
This isn't to say the Dodgers farm system lacks reputable talent or is inaccurately ranked. LA's scouting remains one of the best in the game. But this could represent the start of the Dodgers needing to pivot in trade talks since they might not be able to get away with trading their secondary preferences as frequently moving forward.