Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers put a great deal of emphasis on providing Miguel Vargas extended playing time during his rookie season, but some inconsistent results led to him being optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Vargas dealt with a number of injuries at the end of Spring Training and early into the regular season, which could be a big factor in why he struggled out of the gate. He hit .195/.305/.367 with seven home runs, 32 RBI and 36 runs scored in 304 plate appearances.
Following his option to Oklahoma City, Vargas carried an .886 on-base plus slugging percentage through the final 60 games of their Minor League schedule. His end to the season cast a positive light on what Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman expects of Vargas in 2024, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“We’ve had some conversations with Miggy this winter,” Friedman said. “Now that we’re through the ’23 season, I think there’s a real chance we look back on it as a real positive. He had never struggled in his career. Last year was tough for him in a lot of ways.
“He’s an incredibly talented hitter. That didn’t show like it should and there were assumptions and things like we see with young players who feel they have to do more. They don’t trust that what got them there is good enough and they try to do more and they’re tweaking and they’re changing things to conform to what they think they need to do to be a major-league player. Vargy is one of the more talented natural hitters I’ve seen as a minor-leaguer coming up. So just getting back to that is going to be really helpful for him. And just how clear-eyed he is about it has us really encouraged leading into spring training.”
The Dodgers have seen Vargas put together incredible offensive outputs in Triple-A, and at times with the big club he’s flashed some great potential as well. The trick to his upcoming season might be in logging consistent at-bats.
There has been some talk from Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes about Vargas seeing some time in left field, a spot in which he played 46 MLB innings at last season.
Vargas doesn’t project too well as an everyday outfielder, but he is athletic enough to hold down the position with more work.
Dodgers rumors: Miguel Vargas possible trade chip
The Dodgers face a roster crunch looking ahead to the 2024 season that doesn’t provide Vargas with as many everyday opportunities as there were this year.
Mookie Betts’ expected move to second base puts a lock on that position, and third base is occupied by Max Muncy.
Without a clear position for Vargas, he remains an option as a potential trade candidate. His profile as a solid hitter make Vargas a high-end trade piece, which could be valuable in any deal.
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