Andrew Friedman: Mookie Betts Impacts Dodgers Trade Deadline Approach

Mookie Betts has long established himself as one of the best right fielders in baseball, winning six Gold Glove Awards and being named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers have played him in the infield with plenty of frequency this season due to injuries and other factors.

Heading into the year, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged Betts would make sporadic starts at second base. That since has evolved to Betts playing 16 games (12 starts) at shortstop, and 30 games (27 starts) at second base.

Playing middle infield was not completely foreign to Betts, who was a second baseman when drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the fifth round in 2011.

Betts has proven to be a solid infielder, which earned praise from Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“I mean, if you would have told me over the winter that Mookie would play short as well as he has, I would have been surprised, to be honest. But I guess it’s example 612 not to be surprised by anything that Mookie does,” Friedman said recently.

Friedman further expanded upon the impact Betts being able to play the infield has on the Dodgers and their approach for MLB trade deadline on August 1:

“I think it provides a lot of flexibility, both to start a game and in-game, that has a lot of value. What exactly that means in terms of how often, I think we’ll just keep assessing as we go. But let’s say we get to a point where, in July, we feel like we need to add a bat, it opens up the realm of options of what we can target, if we feel like he can do it well. We’ll continue to assess all of that.”

While it remains to be seen who the Dodgers will target at the trade deadline, Betts not being tied down to right field will only increase the team’s options.

Betts is in the midst of another stellar season, and he was among the National League starters in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game.

Dodgers play Mookie Betts at shortstop to hone focus

Betts has put up better numbers when playing shortstop this season, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes it has helped him lock in even more. “Yeah, I think so. I think so,” Roberts said of playing infield helping Betts hone his focus.

“I think that great players are always looking for a challenge, whether it’s a contract, whether it’s to play for the Hall of Fame, whether it’s for Mookie, in this particular case, a challenge to play a different position knowing that he’s already dominated right field, can do that on a regular basis.

“But there’s something that sort of keeps his interest and that’s a good thing for all of us.”

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