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40-Man Roster Construction

Once again the Dodgers have shown they have the innate ability to sign talent for solid depth purposes, but are missing that elite can’t miss talent.  Admittedly, there are not many out there, and the Dodgers have not been able to draft low enough to grab that Jackson Holliday, Paul Skenes, Dylan Crews, or Wyatt Langford.

But some of the “can’t miss” type prospects have been traded in the past.  James Wood and Pete Crow-Armstrong (PCA) are two that come to mind.  I have been a fan of PCA since he was with NYM.  NYM foolishly traded him to Chicago Cubs for Javy Baez and Trevor Williams.

For me, there is a new prospect that I hope the Dodgers should consider …OF Chase DeLauter (just turned 22).  He was a first round pick in 2022 for Cleveland, out of James Madison. He does not profile at the level of Wood or PCA, so he probably does not fit the “untouchable” status, and he is just beginning his pro career (as were Wood and PCA when they were traded).

DeLauter had a fantastic start to his career.  He traversed through three levels in his 2023 debut, culminating in AA.  Combined, he slashed .355/.417/.528/.945, with 5 HR and 22 doubles.  He had 30 K against 23 BB.  He finished his year in the Arizona Fall League where he was graded as the #2 prospect.  CWS 22 year old SS, Colton Montgomery, was #1.  DeLauter  slashed .299/.385/.529/.914, with 5 HR and 5 doubles.  He walked more than struck out (14 to 11).  He has the speed and athleticism to play CF, but profiles more as a very productive RF, with a great arm.

MLB Pipeline had him at #85 in their post draft top 100, but he figures to move a lot higher after his season and AFL when the pre-season lists are published.  The Dodgers do not have anyone near this level of prospect talent in their OF (or infield).

The Dodgers have a multiple players/pitchers on their 40-man that are MLB ready (or very near MLB ready).  Many have already made their MLB debuts.  The list includes 6 pitchers, 2 catchers, one infielder, and one outfielder.


  • Nick Frasso – 25 year old RHP – 3 options
  • Kyle Hurt – 26 year old RHP – 3 options
  • Landon Knack – 26 year old RHP – 3 options
  • Gavin Stone – 25 year old RHP – 2 options
  • Ricky Vanasco – 25 year old RHRP – 1 option
  • Gus Varland – 27 year old RHRP – 3 options


  • Diego Cartaya – 22 years old – 2 options
  • Hunter Feduccia – 27 years old – 3 options


  • Michael Busch – 26 years old – 2 options


  • Andy Pages – 23 years old – 2 options

This does not include three others who have graduated rookie status and are no longer prospects, but are also potentially tradeable:

  • Michael Grove – 27 year old RHP – 2 options
  • Emmet Sheehan – 24 year old RHP – 2 options
  • Miguel Vargas – 24 year old INF – 1 option

Seven of the above have already shown they are MLB ready, while the other six are close enough, and all could make their debuts this year.  Yes, even Diego Cartaya.  Michael Busch, Miguel Vargas, Hunter Feduccia, Michael Grove, and Emmet Sheehan have nothing left to prove in MiLB.  They all cannot make the MLB 26-man roster.  And to option them, would be unfair to them.  If you are going to sign free agents, then you need to trade some of your ready prospects for missing pieces or for future prospects.

In addition, there are 18 first year Rule 5 draft MiLB players next year, with 2-4 who could be protected:

  • River Ryan – 25 year old RHSP
  • Justin Wrobleski – 24 year old LHSP
  • Austin Gauthier – 25 year old UTL
  • Trey Sweeney – 24 year old SS

Michael Busch is the best prospect on the LAD 40 man, but he has no position with LAD.  Yes, he could go on to become an All Star, he is not going to get that chance with the Dodgers.  His best use is to be packaged in a trade.

Of the remaining group, for 2024, only Emmet Sheehan figures to be a significant player on the 26-man, with Miguel Vargas capable if given a second opportunity.  The others?  Excellent depth for just in case in 2024, or potential contributors in 2025.

I know there are those who are passionate about Busch, Vargas, Sheehan, Stone, Frasso…and to suggest that their best value is to be packaged in a trade does not go over well.  Ryan Noda, Luke Raley, and Zach McKinstry all had good years with their clubs in 2023.  But they would never have had that chance with the Dodgers.  And good for them, even if the Dodgers did not get a true return.  McKinstry did give the Dodgers a very good reliever at the 2022 deadline (Chris Martin), but Raley only returned Tanner Dodson (March 2022), and Noda was picked up via Rule 5 by Oakland last December.

So do the Dodgers hold onto all of the above 13 for the depth to win 100+ games in a season, or should they package some of them for a true October difference maker?

Or do they look to package some for a Chase DeLauter or a comparable non 40-man more elite prospect?





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Cartaya in the show? Hell no.


What? Couldn’t find a flyswatter?


My first choice would be to trade for a young stud but I won’t complain if Joc platoons in LF. The latter probably requires a righty bat at 3rd.

Singing the Blue

OK Jeff, I’m in on DeLauter. Lefty bat, can apparently play all 3 outfield positions. Doesn’t strike out a lot, and hopefully could be our starting right fielder as early as next year.

As a service to your readers I’ve gone to the Trade Simulator, which gives us the following trade possibilities (among others).
How do you feel about these, folks?

Dodgers get – Chase DeLauter

Guardians get:
Busch and Hurt, or
Sheehan and Jose Ramos, or
Cartaya and Grove, or
Vargas, River Ryan and Ramos, or
Rushing and Hurt


I choose Busch and Hurt. A 6 man rotation will need Sheehan. Also, re Busch, add a lefty, subtract a lefty.

Is there a righty version of Chase DeLauter out there somewhere? If so, trade for both.

Singing the Blue

Can’t argue with your choice, at least with regard to Busch. Not real anxious to part with Hurt but I probably would if I had to.


Back home now. Happy New Year to all of you,

Singing the Blue

Happy New Year Bear.

I see where you stopped off at McDonald’s for at least one meal on the way back. You shouldn’t be eating that stuff. Ask Badger for a list of vegan restaurants for your next trip. 😎

Yes, I know. Bears are not vegetarians.

Last edited 5 months ago by Singing the Blue

I got an iced tea. I stopped to use their wifi.

Singing the Blue

OK, I hereby absolve you of all blame.


Good to hear you arrived home safely. Happy and healthy New Year!

RC Dodger

Good article Jeff.
I like the idea of trading multiple prospects for an elite one.
Kind of like the Braves trading prospects and taking on contracts to get Jarred Kelenic who was a top 5 prospect recently and still only 24.

Happy New Year!


Busch and Hurt? For a AA player I’ve never heard of? That’s crazy!

ok. I’m in

Singing the Blue

Happy New Year all.
Here’s to another year of stimulating, respectful, enlightening Dodger conversation at LADC.
Thanks again for providing this playpen for us Jeff.

Looking forward to welcoming DeLauter. I hear he’s going to offer Kelly a broken down bicycle for #99.


I think Busch and Vargas are in the same spot. Major league ready with no position open for them to play. Maybe Busch could platoon in left w CT 3 and Vargas platoon at 3rd w Mad Max but neither has shown the ability yet.
So I agree one or both should be used to trade for either a useful left fielder or a starting pitcher.
You also brought up something I never considered but is brilliant forward looking thinking. How many players do they have that will need to be protected in the rule V. If they have too many they should trade them now.
I would guess Friedman is done w free agent additions and one or two big trades are the next step.


First off, Happy New Year to Jeff D, Old Bear, other contributors and those that read LADC. Thanks to Jeff for providing a nice and informative Dodger blog.

It’s time for, potentially, the most exciting season in LA Dodger history!

I’ve been writing recently on the subject of giving all these 23-26 year olds an opportunity to play in the MLB either with the Dodgers or another team. I like the idea of trading their current aging crop of prospects for some younger prospects. Especially, some position players. Although the team has a nice group of position players in the low minors. The potential holes in 2-3 years could be at 3B, LF, RF and possibility SS if Lux doesn’t work out. The current low minors have possible players to fill those spots. Of course, pitching is always a need. I trust AF and his staff to do the right thing. Interesting times for sure.

Carry on.


I think we had a discussion about how these trades (top end prospect for top end prospect) never happen.


I’d be thrilled if they did. For all the reasons spelled out in this nice piece. It’s a version of the Mitch White deal? Taking advantage of surplus value to replenish with lottery tickets or upside play.



I’d be thrilled if they did. For all the reasons spelled out in this nice piece.”

That was my first thought. Well, one of them anyway. It’s been asked and discussed, which one of Busch Vargas do we keep, or do we trade both. I’m in favor of whatever, but it’s time to do something with them. If we don’t intend to put them on the 26, and some team needs them enough to trade a blocked prospect or two, ok, do it. But for me if the decision is a trade I’d rather see them traded for pitching that will help in the coming year.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

I really wish we knew how healthy Bieber is. His 2023 indicates to me that he may be a long IL trip waiting to happen.

I’d much prefer Ryu. I would guess he’d be available on a fairly inexpensive 1 year deal and he’s a southpaw.

Singing the Blue

Don’t confuse me with the facts.

At least Ryu has already had his surgery. As mentioned above, I’m concerned that Bieber’s is just around the corner. It’s a gamble with either of these guys and since I’ve always been a Ryu fan, I’d just like to see him back here. If they get Bieber, I’ll accept it without complaining. Maybe there’s a better answer out there and AF will spring it on us this week.

I think Sheehan and possibly Stone or even Knack could be ready to start the year in the rotation, so as you mention, that could be another possibility as long as Buehler joins the gang by Apr-May, but I’d still be more comfortable with one more proven major league starter……………and I think Andrew would be also.

Last edited 5 months ago by Singing the Blue
RC Dodger

Maybe Dodgers should have considered trading Busch or Vargas or younger prospects for Chris Sale. The Braves traded Grissom who is a MLB ready prospect blocked from playing time. Seems similar to Busch. And while Sale has been injured in recent years, he did post a 3.16 ERA in his last 15 starts in 2023.
He has huge upside if healthy and could be a difference maker in the playoffs.
The Dodgers are the favorites to win the World Series over the Braves at 4:1 compared to 7:1 for the Braves. But the Braves have a great roster and will be a formidable opponent.


Want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Hope it is filled with love, peace, family and a Dodger World Series win.


Rumor mill has Boston trading Kenley.


I moved on from him a few years ago. $$$

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