With Trea Turner and Corey Seager reaching free agency in back-to-back seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers are without an All-Star shortstop on their roster for the first time since the 2015 season.
In addition to Turner, the free agent market has strong options, including Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson, who the Dodgers may be interested in. There are also options that may be available for trade, including the Chicago Whites Sox’ Tim Anderson and Willy Adames of the Milwaukee Brewers.
But if they don’t make a move for a starting shortstop, the position would belong to Gavin Lux, who came up through the Dodgers’ Minor League system at that position.
Although Lux has had some defensive struggles in his career, specifically with throwing, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the Dodgers feel confident in his ability to handle the position, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Beyond the quartet of free agents, Friedman and Gomes indicated the team does “feel good” about Gavin Lux as an internal option to replace Turner at shortstop. “He filled in in ‘21 for a couple months stretch for Seager and he was good (defensively),” Friedman said. “He did it coming up (through the minors) and he was good. … His whole life, he’s been a shortstop. That’s more natural to him than second base.”
Lux spent 31 innings at shortstop across nine games during the 2022 season, and he has played 502.1 innings there in 68 games (50 starts) over the course of his career. He owns a fielding percentage of .968 while playing shortstop, which is just a few ticks below his .973 mark at second base.
The advanced metrics haven’t favored him as much though. Lux does have one defensive run saved and one out above average at shortstop, but his ultimate zone rating per 150 games is -10.4, and his arm strength ranks in the 36th percentile of Major League players.
If the Dodgers decide to start Lux at shortstop, they would likely need to compliment him with a strong defensive third baseman and second baseman to avoid a sizable drop in team defense.
The case for keeping Gavin Lux at second base
There is also a benefit to keeping Lux at second base, where he ranks as a quality defender, because of the ban on shifts. Without shifting, second baseman are going to need to cover as much ground as a shortstop does, and having two strong defenders up the middle will become a massive advantage to teams.
Lux has also settled into second base well, and after his best offensive season, changing his position may result in a drop in his production with more things to think about.
Furthermore, if the Dodgers are making a key offensive addition, all of the free agent hitting talent outside of Aaron Judge are at the shortstop position. They could go to the trade route to improve their offense, but signing a player is the easiest path to take and keeps their farm system together.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!