If there's one thing Andrew Friedman and the Los Angeles Dodgers have done exceptionally well since 2015, it's developing and maximizing talent at the minor-league level, whether that be through the draft or international free agency. The Dodgers' farm system is always highly rated even if some guys fail at the big-league level.
Their prospects are always coveted. Look no further than the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade back in 2021 when the Dodgers only had to give up Nos. 1 and 2 prospects Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, both of whom, so far, have been the definition of league-average or worse.
How about the Mookie Betts trade when the Red Sox thought they were getting requisite value in Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs? On the contrary, outside of Oneil Cruz and Yordan Alvarez, the Dodgers have managed to hang onto all of their best young players and have been burned in very few deals.
Recently, a number of reputable outlets have submitted their updated rankings of farm systems across MLB. Not only do the Dodgers remain near the top, but there was a major shift in their own top 30.
Perhaps it's time for Friedman and Co. to do their capitalizing this offseason and capitalize on the trade market instead of solely doing the majority of their legwork in free agency.
Updated MLB.com prospect rankings could give Dodgers massive offseason upper hand
In MLB.com's latest prospect rankings, Dalton Rushing has taken over the No. 1 spot with Bobby Miller now entrenched on the big-league roster. Behind him is Michael Busch, Diego Cartaya, Nick Frasso and Gavin Stone.
This could very well help the Dodgers in any offseason trade talks because a player like Rushing -- his profile and rapid ascension -- is exactly an asset Friedman would dangle at its peak. Rushing's been splitting his reps between catcher at first base at High-A this season and the Dodgers have no need at those positions for the foreseeable future. The lefty slugger struggled a bit after coming back from a nasty concussion, but he's back on track and mashing.
This would undoubtedly be a difficult player to part with, given what he's shown right off the bat since being drafted in the second round just last year, but if he can land the Dodgers someone like Corbin Burnes? You probably have to make that trade and keep chugging along with Freddie Freeman/Will Smith while hoping Diego Cartaya rebounds.
The Dodgers, at the moment, have a few depreciated assets, specifically Cartaya, Michael Busch, Gavin Stone and Andy Pages, with Pages being the only one whose descent is injury-related. Friedman won't be able to market them as aggressively as he previously would've been able to.
Rushing has jumped the line, however, and represents a version of a surplus/luxury for this organization. With the pitching staff in shambles and 2024 looking a bit bleak on that front, LA might need to act fast here if they want to replenish their rotation quickly.