Michael Busch is the Los Angeles Dodgers' No. 2 prospect, but he's stuck in Oklahoma City for reasons unknown. He got 15 games at the MLB level and that was it. The Dodgers sent him back down.
Many believed it was to preserve the 25-year-old's trade value with the deadline approaching. Busch has delivered on his end of the deal, too. He's hitting .318 with a 1.037 OPS, 72 runs scored, 23 home runs and 76 RBI in 82 games with the OKC Dodgers.
But the trade deadline came and went, and Busch is still here. Not only is he still in the organization, but he's still in the minor leagues, where he continues to absolutely punish the competition while the Dodgers roster withering bats like Miguel Rojas and Austin Barnes.
So what is their plan with Busch? Bring him up when the rosters expand? But what's the use? There have been ample opportunities to promote him -- most notably when Miguel Vargas got sent down -- and the front office opted to go in multiple less inspiring directions.
If they still plan on trading him in the offseason, then why would they audition him at the MLB level during a crucial stretch run? That doesn't seem wise, especially if they didn't let him play with the team past June 25.
What are Dodgers doing with Michael Busch now that trade deadline has passed?
The only certainty with Busch at this point is the regularly scheduled hype posts every other day about his progress in Triple-A. He hit another three-run homer last Wednesday night and the attention hasn't wavered like it typically might post-deadline.
If he's going to be a piece for the Dodgers moving forward, then so be it. Fans love when homegrown talent rises through the ranks and makes a long-term impact. But if the Dodgers are going to sit on his value at its peak, then what's the point? Couldn't he have been traded for Michael Lorenzen or a veteran pitcher of similar impact?
The time for Busch to contribute with the Dodgers, at least in 2023, has seemingly come and gone. There were middle infield voids, and the front office went with Kiké Hernandez and Amed Rosario. Gavin Lux is expected to return in 2024, and many would expect the same for Miguel Vargas, who's still viewed as a more valuable piece than Busch.
Unless there's a grander plan we're not aware of, Busch's development has remained at a crossroads for far too long, and there probably won't be a definitive answer on his future until December.