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Dodgers notes: Raúl Ibañez, player development, Michael Busch

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World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v. Texas Rangers - Game One
Robert D. Manfred Jr. and Raúl Ibañez chat during Game 1 of the 2023 World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on Friday, October 27, 2023 in Arlington, Texas.
Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Dodgers on Friday announced that they hired Raúl Ibañez as vice president of baseball development and special projects.

The former outfielder, who played 19 seasons for the Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Angels, and Yankees, was most recently a senior vice president in on-field operations for Major League Baseball, where he worked on rules, equipment, and on-field technology in addition to league initiatives in scouting and amateur baseball.

Ibañez prior to joining MLB was a special assistant in baseball operations in the Dodgers front office dating back to 2016.

The Dodgers this offseason have committed to spend over $1.2 billion in salaries, the bulk of which to secure Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto to record contracts.

Obviously the money spent can’t be discounted, but Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer wrote about how the pursuits of both Japanese stars were heavily contested, with other teams making offers similar to Los Angeles. Lindbergh noted that the Dodgers’ recent run of success — making the postseason 11 years in a row — and stellar player development reputation also helped set them apart, and fueled the Dodgers’ aggression this winter.

“They still have something to prove,” Lindbergh wrote, “and they operate with the urgency of a team on the upswing, not a storied, 140-year-old franchise that the oddsmakers consider a perennial favorite.”

Thursday’s Dodgers-Cubs trade was analyzed by Craig Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus, who noted the Los Angeles cleared the 40-man space they needed while also netting two young prospects, and Chicago capitalized by potentially getting a starting first baseman in Michael Busch.

Keith Law at The Athletic called Busch “a natural first baseman and almost certainly plays there for the Cubs,” while noting the Cubs needed all the help they can get after Chicago first basemen hit only .241/.299/.414 (with a 92 wRC+) in 2023.

Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest tabbed pitcher Jackson Ferris as the highlight of the return for the Dodgers, describing the left-hander like this: “He also has a sweeper in the 80s, which we know the Dodgers like, a mid-70s curveball with a true 12-6 break and a mid-80s changeup that he has some feel for, but still needs refinement.”