As of right now, Gavin Lux is in line to be the starting shortstop for the Dodgers in 2023. There’s still plenty of offseason left, so Los Angeles could sign Dansby Swanson or trade for Willy Adames or another shortstop, but if the season started tomorrow, Lux would likely be the guy.
Over at The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal writes about L.A.’s chances of signing Swanson and what their options are if they don’t. Within the article, he brings up some questions about Lux presented by a “rival executive.”
Shortstop is Lux’s natural position. He made 50 starts at short in 2021 after Corey Seager fractured his right hand. Still, one rival executive asks a series of questions that might give the Dodgers pause:
Won’t the team at least need a platoon partner for Lux at short? (Lux in 230 career plate appearances against lefties has batted only .214 with a .587 OPS.) Who would be the backups? (The leading internal alternatives are Chris Taylor, 32, and slick-fielding Jacob Amaya, 24.) What happens if Lux flops? (The top free-agent shortstops next offseason are Miguel Rojas and Amed Rosario.)
Let’s take these in order:
“Won’t the team at least need a platoon partner for Lux at short?”
While it’s true that Lux’s career OPS against lefties is .587, it’s also true that his OPS against lefties in 2022 before the neck injury that tanked his last six weeks of the season was .763. Lux was a very good hitter in 2022 until the neck injury, and that includes against lefties.
Could he regress? Sure. But he’s a former top prospect going into his age-25 season. He’s going to start nearly every day, whether it’s at shortstop or somewhere else. Sure, when he gets the occasional day off, it will probably be against a lefty pitcher. But Lux isn’t a platoon player at this point in his career.
“Who would be the backups?”
Teams with a good starting shortstop don’t need a “backup.” They need a guy who can hold down the fort at shortstop when the starter needs an occasional day off, and Taylor would fit that need just fine.
“What happens if Lux flops?”
The Dodgers will adjust. It’s not rocket science here. It’s not a bigger risk to have Lux flop as the shortstop than as the second baseman. Baseball teams have been dealing with players not living up to their potential for 150 years, and Andrew Friedman is better at his job than most of the front office guys over that century and a half. If Lux flops — and that’s a big if — Los Angeles will adjust.
Yeah, there’s a very good chance the Dodgers will bring someone in to play shortstop for them in 2023. But if they go with Lux, chances are, they’ll be just fine, no matter how many questions an unnamed “rival executive” asks.
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