The Los Angeles Dodgers walked the walk this offseason, turning the keys over to the kids at several positions while saying goodbye to departing stars like Trea and Justin Turner.
This wasn't just an act of charity. It was a two-pronged approach to empower young stars they believe in, while also clearing payroll for a full-throated pursuit of Shohei Ohtani next offseason.
Still, even with the path cleared for players like Gavin Lux and Miguel Vargas, there were a number of permutations available to the team, and the addition of Miguel Rojas made Lux's hold on the shortstop job something less than a certainty.
Until Andrew Friedman stepped in over the weekend to clarify his ideal infield picture for Opening Day 2023, which may come as a surprise to Dodgers fans.
Per Friedman, he intended to build an infield this offseason consisting of Max Muncy at third base, Gavin Lux at shortstop, Miguel Vargas at second base, and Chris Taylor in the outfield. Rojas, on the other hand, will be a roving defensive reinforcement rather than a name they can count on as an everyday player.
Dodgers' 2023 infield picture includes Miguel Vargas...at second base!
Rojas as the Swiss Army knife wasn't the most surprising revelation from Friedman's interview. Vargas has always been a primary third baseman, playing a grand total of zero games at second during his 18-game MLB cameo last summer.
The 23-year-old slugger played seven games at second in Triple-A last summer, as opposed to 74 games at third. In total, he's manned second base for portions of 28 games during his minor-league career, as opposed to 205 games at third and 23 in left.
We always knew Turner's departure would lead to more reps for Vargas, who drilled 17 bombs and hit .304 in the minors last season. We just had no idea that a vacant hot corner wouldn't have anything to do with Vargas' big-league shot.
Add in that Muncy -- still nursing a tender elbow -- feels like a more natural second baseman than third baseman (paging Trevor Story), and it seems Friedman is seeing this at a different level from most of us. Hope it works out.