What’s the Dodgers’ long-term plan at shortstop?
Corey Seager’s gone. Trea Turner isn’t under contract beyond next season. Gavin Lux is falling out of favor in short order. So what’s the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ long-term plan at arguably the most important position on the field?
Why do we ask? Because recent projections indicate Turner might exceed (or at least meet) the top shortstop contracts given out before the start of the 2022 season due to his recent success (assuming he can provide a semblance of that production next year).
That would mean the Dodgers need to commit another $300-plus million to their payroll, which they seemingly weren’t willing to do with Seager unless they could get away with a significant amount of deferred money.
There’s no need to fret about it at this very moment, but with all the information and context clues we have, it’s hard to see what the franchise might be envisioning when the 2023 campaign arrives.
What’s the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long-term plan at the shortstop position?
We should note that the Dodgers, according to reports, were willing to pay somewhere near the market price for Seager despite his inability to remain healthy on a consistent basis since making his MLB debut back in 2015. It’s been a bit of the same story for Turner, but he’s been able to stay on the field in 2018, 2020 and 2021, which might make the Dodgers feel a bit more comfortable with their potential investment.
Additionally, Turner’s build is one that we can expect to last a bit longer when it comes to playing defense up the middle. He’s fast, versatile, and a bit more limber, which would indicate his longevity at shortstop is in good hands. Seager’s large frame has insiders and analysts predicting he’ll have to move off shortstop (likely to third base) in a few years, and it’s not outlandish to assume the Dodgers weren’t overly thrilled with paying top-notch shortstop money for someone who was potentially going to have to switch positions.
But another aspect of this to take into account is that the Dodgers, as of late October, hadn’t discussed a return to shortstop with Turner, who mostly played second base after arriving in LA at the trade deadline. And that brings us to this year’s free agent class.
Do the Dodgers feel it’s worthwhile, both financially and for the mental well being of their fan base, to make Carlos Correa one of the highest-paid players in the league? Are they eyeing a cheaper deal for Trevor Story, willing to overpay a little than what the rest of his potential suitors are offering, in order to save over $100 million? We ask because the pipeline doesn’t boast any shortstop options that would immediately be able to hold down the fort in 2023, unless you trust Jacob Amaya to take massive strides in the minor leagues in 2022.
And then there’s Lux, who’s yet to prove much of anything at the MLB level and was moved into a utility role during the second half of last season. We have to imagine he’ll be a potential trade chip once the lockout is lifted because the acquisition of Turner all but officially stated the Dodgers weren’t willing to enter 2022 with Lux as their starting shortstop.
There are a lot of different scenarios, but not many answers, and it’s unclear how long we’ll have to wait. Seager spurning LA this offseason certainly affected their plans, though, so the front office has to weigh whatever contingency plans they had in mind to get the future sorted out before these questions begin to make major headlines.