Seoul Series doesn't keep Dodgers from optioning former top prospect in brutal roster move

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cleveland Guardians
Los Angeles Dodgers v Cleveland Guardians / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

The Dodgers touched down at Incheon Airport on Friday morning to a frenzied reception, solidifying the fact that their superstardom has expanded well past the United States and entered into a new stratosphere. Everyone who knows what baseball is knows who Shohei Ohtani is, therefore everyone knows who the Dodgers are.

The Seoul Series, a two-game set against the Padres, will kick off on March 20. Both teams are already working out at the Gocheok Sky Dome, gearing up for two exhibition games apiece against KBO teams and the Korean national team before the first two regular season games of the year.

However, being abroad and prepping for an international series isn't keeping the Dodgers from making roster moves — one particularly brutal, one signaling the possible beginning of another resurgence for a player the Dodgers clearly have a lot of faith in.

On Saturday afternoon (around 8 AM, Seoul time), the Dodgers officially re-added Daniel Hudson to the 40-man roster and optioned former top prospect and possible bench piece Miguel Vargas back to the minors. Both are currently in Seoul with the team. They also DFA'ed Andre Lipcius, who they picked up in exchange for cash just a few weeks ago.

Dodgers option Miguel Vargas, select the contract of Daniel Hudson ahead of Seoul Series

Vargas' roster spot has seemed to be in jeopardy for some time now, after he hit .195/.305/.367 over 81 games in 2023 and came into Dodgers spring training as a left fielder, despite having spent most of his major league time as an infielder. It seemed like a last-ditch effort to let him prove himself and fight for his bench spot, and now it seems like the Dodgers have reached the end of their rope, at least for now, especially after he's hit .192/.276/.385 in spring training.

He’ll likely lose his 26-man spot in favor of Hudson, who re-signed on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training after an ACL injury and then MCL injury interrupted what looked like promising 2022 and 2023 seasons. Before he tore his ACL in 2022, he pitched 24 1/3 innings for a 2.22 ERA. He only pitched three innings in 2023 before the MCL injury, then became a free agent and returned on a minor league deal. The Dodgers have been vocally enthusiastic about Hudson; just earlier this week, Dave Roberts said that he envisioned Hudson having a place in the bullpen, but wasn't sure when that would happen (subscription required).

It seems like the time is now. Hudson could be ramping up to a pretty incredible comeback, but it is pretty cutthroat that the Dodgers would also hit Vargas with this news while he's abroad with the team.