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The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs have agreed to a trade that helps the Dodgers clear some 40-man roster space and gives the Cubs some major-league depth. Headed to the Cubs are right-handed reliever Yency Almonte and infielder Michael Busch, the teams announced Thursday. The Dodgers get back left-handed pitching prospect Jackson Ferris and outfielder Zyhir Hope. 

Almonte, 29, is a 6-foot-5 right-hander. In his two seasons with the Dodgers, one was great and one was bad. 

2022: 1.02 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 33 strikeouts, 35 1/3 innings
2023: 5.06 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 49 strikeouts, 48 innings

Walks were a major issue last season, as he offered up 24 free passes. He has been a grounder-heavy pitcher and the Cubs have great infield defense, so there's a fit here. If he throws well, there's a chance to move into a prominent role. Adbert Alzolay figures to remain the closer, absent another move, with Julian Merryweather and Mark Leiter Jr. as other late-inning options. 

While Busch has clobbered Pacific League pitching, putting up a .293/.385/.544 slash line with 48 home runs in 209 games, his age and skill set combine to grant him a thinner margin of error than the average bear. Busch weathered an unproductive 27-game stint in the majors last season, but in our mind he still projects to be an above-average hitter at the highest level. He ranked in the top 10 among qualified Triple-A hitters in both chase rate and percentage of batted balls with exit velocities exceeding 95 mph. His maximum exit velocity, 111.5 mph, meanwhile was in line with those produced by Nathaniel Lowe, Nick Castellanos, and Adley Rutschman, among other middle-of-the-order fixtures. Busch has also shown solid bat-to-ball skills, with his 20% whiff rate coming in seven percentage points superior to the average.

With all that established, there are two major drawbacks to Busch's game. Foremost, he's not nearly as effective without the platoon advantage. Last season, he managed a 1.048 OPS versus righties and a .795 OPS against lefties. He's also, again, not a particularly skilled defender. The Dodgers have tried him all around the diamond without finding him a real home.

Given the Cubs' emphasis on infield defense, it seems unlikely the plan is for Busch to man the hot corner on an everyday basis. There's still time to mine free agency (Matt Chapman, perhaps?), too, with Nick Madrigal as an internal, defense-first option. Patrick Wisdom's power is still around as well. 

As for the Dodgers' return, both players are interesting. 

Ferris, 19, is a 6-foot-4 lefty and a second-round pick out of high school in 2022. In 18 starts for Class A Myrtle Beach last season, he pitched to a 3.38 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 77 strikeouts against 33 walks in 56 innings. He has a quality fastball-curve combo. 

Hope, 18, was an 11th rounder out of high school last year, but quickly garnered some buzz in his Rookie Ball season. In 11 games, he hit .286/.419/.543 with three homers, nine RBI, eight runs and three steals.