Breaking: Cubs complete the signing of Dodgers top star

How Michael Busch became a hit for the Cubs following his trade with the Dodgers
Michael Busch has been a first-round draft pick, a top-100 prospect, and the Pacific Coast League MVP on his path to the majors. In most organizations, such type of résumé gets you promoted to the big leagues. However, as a prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system, the journey was far more arduous.

First, perennial All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman agreed to a long-term contract to play Busch’s primary position in Los Angeles for years to come. Then, an offseason later, Shohei Ohtani joined the Dodgers, very likely cementing Ohtani’s place as the designated hitter for the next decade.


Busch claims he was unconcerned by the high-profile signings crowding L.A.’s depth chart before he was given the opportunity to establish himself at Dodger Stadium. But there was one issue that the former North Carolina standout was asking repeatedly this offseason: where would he receive at-bats?

“I got that a lot from my friends,” Busch told ESPN last week. “I was always like, ‘Adding those guys will increase our chances of winning.'” I viewed it as, ‘How can I help this ballclub now?’ Honestly, that was my thinking.”


Busch put it into effect in recent seasons, agreeing to play all over the diamond in search of a position where he could display his bat as an everyday player. Despite the difficulties that come with learning a new position each year, Busch never quit hitting, hitting 32 home runs in 2022 and then posting a 1.049 OPS on his way to winning the Pacific Coast League’s top award last season.

“They gave me the opportunity to play second base, and I was excited about it,” Busch said with a smile. “Then last year, they gave me the opportunity to play third base, which I had never done in my life. I became enthused about it as well.


Then, on January 12, Busch’s path to the majors opened up—but not with the team that drafted him in 2019. Busch and reliever Yency Almonte were traded to the Chicago Cubs for Single-A prospects Zyhir Hope and Jackson Ferris, both of whom were high on Los Angeles’ draft board before being taken by the Cubs.
“It just became harder and harder with the way we were constructed to get him playing time,” Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes recently stated. “We all thought Michael was a big leaguer, ready to take the next step and face MLB pitching every day. And we didn’t have the chance to do so.”


A transaction that went beneath the radar during the hot stove season relieved the Dodgers’ 40-man roster crunch while providing the Cubs with a potential long-term option at a position they have struggled to fill since losing Anthony Rizzo in 2021.

“He fit the profile of a need that we had,” Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins explained. “We knew that he was a player that was going to be available, and we knew he was really good — but the Dodgers knew he was really good and weren’t going to give him away.”


The timing of the deal allowed Busch to make an immediate introduction in his new home. When he learned of the transaction, he left in the middle of a visit to Chapel Hill to drive to Chicago, put on a Cubs uniform, and stepped out to cheers at Cubs Convention, despite not knowing what the team’s popular offseason event was.

“I just know how important it is to be on a team and to build that culture,” Busch stated. “Showing up to spring training made it a little easier after being at the convention.”

But the big introduction came a few months later, when Busch was listed first on an MLB depth chart for the first time this season. The Cubs’ new first baseman quickly wowed his teammates with his offensive prowess, hitting.389 with five RBIs in six games during his first Wrigley Field homestand — and blasting his first home run against the Dodgers in a thrilling victory.

Then began the streak. From April 10 to April 15, Busch homered in five consecutive games, tying a franchise record and joining Chicago legends Sammy Sosa and Ryne Sandberg.

















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