On any other MLB team, former top-five overall prospect Gavin Lux would have endless leeway to recover and prove himself from the tail end of 2019 to present.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are not any other MLB team. There’s an All-Star at every position, and there’s no room for net-neutral contributions.
Does this leap seem too hasty? Certainly. Objectively. For some.
But on a roster full of moving parts, two of them MVP candidates with bright and extended futures ahead of them with a front-office decision yet to be made between them, the Dodgers need solid proof that Lux’s bat can be above-average, and that he will not be a glove-first rover moving forward.
The futures of both Trea Turner and Corey Seager in Dodger Blue hinges on Lux emerging from the doldrums down the stretch.
So far, we’ve seen no reason to choose his controllable years over expensive extensions to both other infielders.
The Dodgers have a big decision to make on Gavin Lux.
With Turner and Seager both fully healthy and functional, Los Angeles made the recent choice to shove Lux over to third base when his return was nigh. This was a not-so-subtle way of significantly testing him for their 2022-and-beyond plan, like when your supervisor says she’d “love to see you focus” on a certain project that’s a bit of a departure from your day-to-day.
Spoiler alert: your future hinges on your success on that project. If you fail, that’s bad.
In his first two games started post-return against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Lux finished 0-7 with a strikeout and a walk. His defense at third was lowlighted by a pair of errors in six innings. Obviously, this is the smallest of small sample sizes, and judging Lux on these two games would not provide anything of value. He’ll simply have to hope 40 games is enough to earn organizational trust back, and he’s starting from his lowest point.
At this juncture, the 23-year-old Lux is still bankable for the rest of the league. His shine has been questioned, but his pedigree remains. A difficult April and May next season, though, would only further reduce his trade value, which has skated on a downward trajectory since the 2019 NLDS, marred by a bizarre 2020 we still don’t know enough about. The time is now, and the clock is (fairly or unfairly) ticking.
Is this tweet…ironic? That’s…energy? That seems like detached realization that there’s a significant roadblock in your pathway, and it’s time to get back to the drawing board.
A peaking Lux can ignite a rally with his gap-to-gap power and speed, while competently covering either second or short. He’s a unique personality with solidly flashy skills. Unfortunately, we’re going on Year 3 of them being largely dormant at the MLB level.
A 77 OPS+ in extended 2021 duty will not be enough to convince the organization to eschew either Turner or Seager’s contributions, nor will carrying Lux as a backup third baseman be enough of a reason not to trade him for controllable pitching or proven talent. It all comes down to September.