The 2023 season has not exactly gone according to plan for Dodgers rookie Miguel Vargas.
It immediately got off to a bad start when Vargas injured his thumb in spring training, and was unable to swing a bat.
That ended up helping his eye at the plate, and he opened the season as a walk machine. The hitting, however, took some time.
Vargas finally started to accumulate some hits, and seemed to be getting ready to fully break out in the middle of his rookie year. Unfortunately, the opposite happened.
Vargas has been struggling mightily at the plate as of late, seeing his average dip below the Mendoza Line all the way down to .197 on the year. In his last 15 games, Vargas is slashing just .087/.173/.217 with four hits in his last 46 at-bats.
Vargas has been solid on defense as he continues to learn second base, but he’s started to lose serious playing time thanks to the ever-versatile Mookie Betts taking over that infield spot against right-handed pitching to allow the team to utilize three left-handed outfielders — Jason Heyward, James Outman and David Peralta.
On Friday, ahead of the Dodgers’ final series before the All-Star break where Vargas is back on the bench in favor of Betts, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about his struggling rookie losing playing time and potentially being sent down. His response was very interesting.
“I think everything should be on the table,” Roberts said in regards to Vargas potentially being optioned to Triple-A. “A conversation would be in his best interests and could be helpful.”
Could #Dodgers send Miguel Vargas down to break his slump? “I think everything should be on the table,” Dave Roberts said. “A conversation would be in his best interests and could be helpful.”— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 7, 2023
I’m not sure who asked the question, but shoutout to them for giving Roberts a tough question, and respect to Roberts for answering it truthfully. While he didn’t say whether or not Vargas would be optioned, he made it very clear that it’s a possibility, which is much more than Roberts usually says when speaking to reporters.
While many people believe optioning Vargas could potentially stunt his growth, I’m on the side that says an option could go a long way in him getting his confidence back.
Vargas is a great hitter and has the hit tool to be successful in the MLB. He is just in the midst of a prolonged slump.
Spending some time in Triple-A getting his swing right could do him some good — and we know the career .313 hitter in the minor leagues will dominate once he’s there.
The Dodgers could elect to bring Michael Busch back up and give him a larger runway as they await Vargas’ resurgence. Busch continues to rake at the Triple-A level, and is pretty much just wasting away as we near the trade deadline.
This is the time for the Dodgers to see what they have in Busch before the deadline, and he deserves an opportunity while the struggling Vargas gets right in Triple-A.
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