Now that Los Angeles Dodgers fans have heard this twice from fairly reputable outlets, it’s time to wonder if Gavin Lux beginning the 2022 season as the team’s starting second baseman is the best of plans.
First, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic mentioned it in his mailbag when a fan had asked about Lux’s role. Then, True Blue LA talked about the team’s bizarre second base situation over the years and suspected Lux would once again be the starter whenever next year kicks off.
OK, but what about Chris Taylor signing a four-year, $60 million extension (and taking a discount to remain with the team)? Are there trades on the way? Because we’re not sure we see a world in which Lux starting at second base with Taylor on the bench/in center with Cody Bellinger at first (?) is best for the Dodgers.
Here’s what we can expect to be the Opening Day lineup, assuming this is the case:
- 1B Max Muncy
- 2B Gavin Lux
- 3B Justin Turner
- SS Trea Turner
- C Will Smith
- RF Mookie Betts
- CF Cody Bellinger
- LF AJ Pollock
- SP Walker Buehler
Are we sure Dodgers’ Chris Taylor isn’t going to start at second base over Gavin Lux?
Taylor’s primary job is to be the Swiss Army knife and inimitable utility man, but at this point heavy usage at second base, assuming the rest of the roster stays healthy, should be his path. Most of his exposure came in center field and at second base last season, and if Cody Bellinger hadn’t been injured he might’ve been playing more at second.
Not to mention, Taylor’s prolific season resulted in his first All-Star nod, and he was a driving force during the first half of the season and then in the playoffs. His second half dip was a concern, but compared to what Lux has accomplished ever since taking the next step from being one of the best prospects in the game, Taylor’s worlds better than him as an all-around player.
In fact, some might argue Lux’s development is a bit of a worry. He’s hit .233 with a .682 OPS, 83 OPS+ and just 30 extra-base hits in 144 career games. That’s all well below average and underwhelming, regardless if your expectations for him were sky-high or not.
Manager Dave Roberts said about a month ago that he envisions Lux filling a similar role to Taylor’s, but then why would Lux be playing over the better option? The only true question mark among the team’s position players lies at second base because Turner will be able to seamlessly transition to shortstop following Corey Seager’s departure. In fact, Taylor’s actually played more games at second base over the last three seasons.
There’s also the conundrum in regard to providing Lux with a role that he’ll grow into, but that was thrown out the window because of the presence of Seager and Turner. Lux was primarily a shortstop, and he’s since gone to second base and then the outfield.
So if the Dodgers don’t have a definitive starting role for him, an attempt to either give him more playing time over Taylor or have him turn into Taylor really don’t feel like the best options for 2022.