Still wondering what the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ infield will look like come 2023? At the moment, both Justin Turner and Trea Turner are not members of the team, and some suspect it could stay that way.
The third base situation with JT out of the picture is a bit more self-explanatory. Miguel Vargas, one of the team’s best prospects who’s clearly MLB-ready, is set to slot in at the position, assuming he’s healthy.
Trea Turner leaving shortstop vacant either forces the Dodgers to spend big in free agency, make a trade, or shift their current infield situation around.
Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts are available on the open market, but it’s unclear if LA is willing to go the distance to sign one of them if Turner opts to leave. Then there are loose trade rumors surrounding players like the Brewers’ Willy Adames, but that’s unrealistic, and the overall market for middle infielders is pretty bare.
That leaves the Dodgers’ most likely option: figuring out the infield with who they have on the roster at this very moment. Manager Dave Roberts appeared on The Athletic Baseball Show and spoke on the team’s plan in the event Trea Turner leaves (which sounded like it will be the case).
Dave Roberts says Gavin Lux could be Dodgers’ Opening Day shortstop
This has previously been speculated about by a few MLB insiders, including Ken Rosenthal, who cautioned fans on the Dodgers’ potential unwillingness to spend excessively in free agency (subscription required) this offseason.
This, coming directly from Roberts, however, has to be viewed as the most likely outcome despite the fact it could be a classic Dodgers smokescreen to divert attention elsewhere as they strike in an unexpected manner.
If you think about it, a high-profile shortstop signing feels like a bit of an unneeded expense with everything else the Dodgers need at the moment. If Lux is viewed as a suitable, above-average option at the position, then there’s little reason why the Dodgers wouldn’t move forward with him. Pursuits of guys like Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, Brandon Nimmo and some relief help seem more important given the losses in the rotation, the release of Cody Bellinger, and the unstable bullpen.
Much of the buzz so far has leaned toward Turner leaving and the Dodgers remaining reserved in their pursuit for an equally or more expensive shortstop target. That buzz has been accompanied by an uncertainty around the Dodgers’ willingness to exceed certain luxury tax thresholds.
A semi-confirmation from Roberts might be the tone-setter before the Winter Meetings begin on Sunday.