Dodgers' season-ending injury to top prospect could wreck 2023 trade deadline

Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers possess an embarrassment of riches in their farm system from which to deal at the 2023 MLB trade deadline -- but what else is new?

The Dodgers are never bereft of top prospects, scrounging for crumbs while deciding how to pull off deadline blockbusters. Instead, they're just trying to decide between Blocked Player A and Blocked Player B as potential headliners.

Because, at the big-league level, the Dodgers ... are literally always good. Like the Golden State Warriors, they've attempted to develop complete rosters on multiple timelines to supplement their current stars. Unlike the Golden State Warriors, they've actually succeeded at doing so.

Will Smith emerges behind the plate? Sorry, Keibert Ruiz, but you're a National now. Diego Cartaya's timeline makes more sense (and, nearly two years later, he might get edged out by Smith, too). Gavin Lux? You're going to have to wait your turn; Trea Turner just rolled up. The farm is always full. The issue is deciding where, exactly, you require it to be overstuffed.

That's why, following the emergence of James Outman in center field, the outfield felt like an area of strength this summer. Michael Busch could technically play left. Jonny DeLuca just earned a promotion. If the Dodgers felt the need to upgrade this offseason, they'd probably add a left fielder rather than promote from within anyway, considering their strongest options were still green. That's why outfield prospect Andy Pages (or Busch) felt like a solid bet to lead a package this July ... until Pages went down with a labrum tear, which will sideline him until 2024.

And, just like that, the decision is now out of the Dodgers' hands.

Dodgers top prospect Andy Pages out until 2024 (shoulder surgery)

Perhaps DeLuca shines over the next few weeks in Trayce Thompson's place, allowing the Dodgers to sell high on him instead?

In 33 Texas League games this season, the 22-year-old Pages rapped .284 with a .430 OBP and three homers before being promoted to Triple-A ... where he played exactly one game before succumbing to injury. Now, he's in flux.

In all likelihood, he'll start 2024 with the Dodgers organization, as this injury will probably remove him from the trade machine. Instead, expect Busch to be the headliner of any major deal, flanked by a few of the Dodgers' mid-tier pitching prospects, whose names they've made sure the rest of the world knows whenever they get the chance to talk them up (Nick Nastrini, River Ryan, etc.).

Unfortunately for Pages, while his star hasn't dimmed, the likelihood of him stealing headlines this summer has all but disappeared.