Dodgers backtracking on Gavin Lux as starting shortstop

Mar 2, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux (2)
Mar 2, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux (2) / Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Even before he tore his ACL, the Dodgers had some reason to worry about Gavin Lux as an everyday shortstop. There was more oomph in his bat than in Miguel Rojas', but Lux was always a stronger second baseman, while Rojas has put elite numbers at short. Mookie Betts will be at second for the foreseeable future and the Dodgers were unable to fulfill their offseason dream of acquiring Willy Adames, so they were left with Lux at short.

The original party line Dave Roberts and the Dodgers were maintaining said that Lux would be their shortstop, while Rojas, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernández, and maybe Miguel Vargas would only be in reserve roles. Okay, sure. Having one player at shortstop for the majority of the season might be preferable to all of the alternating they did there and at second last year.

But then Lux actually got a chance to play short. He came out of the gate looking rough — his first two chances on fielding ground balls resulted in two errors — but things took an especially ugly turn on Wednesday, during Yoshinobu Yamamoto's second start. Two of the hits and one of the runs Yamamoto gave up can be blamed on Lux's weak arm, which bounced what should've been relatively easy throws from short. After Yamamoto came out of the game, Lux bounced another throw that barely managed to beat the runner to first. On his fourth chance, he threw the ball with some power, but Freddie Freeman was almost falling sideways to grab it.

Following that game, the Dodgers' party line changed, and Lux's job security seemed to be in jeopardy (subscription required). Suddenly, Roberts was unsure about who would start at short on Opening Day.

Gavin Lux may have lost his Opening Day spot with Dodgers after clumsy spring training outings at shortstop

The day after Yamamoto's outing, the Dodgers started Hernández at shortstop and Miguel Rojas at second, then had them switch later in the game. Per Fabian Ardaya, both are expected to get time at shortstop throughout the rest of spring training, which seems to indicate that the Dodgers' faith in Lux has dimmed significantly after Wednesday's showing.

Fan reactions were mixed when Lux came straight out the gate with sloppy defense — some were calling for a new shortstop immediately, while others came to his defense, saying that it was too early to make a call. The latter party was probably more correct at the time, but after six appearances at shortstop, three errors, and a lot more near-errors to show for it, it doesn't seem too early anymore.

Rojas' bat has never been fantastic, so the Dodgers will need to decide if the rest of their lineup is good enough to compensate for him in a ninth hole spot (spoiler alert: it probably is) before replacing Lux, but things aren't looking great for him.