The Los Angeles Dodgers are somehow 22-15 and lead the NL West despite not having a true starting shortstop on the roster. This would be a death knell for most teams, but it's just another day at the office for LA.
When Trea Turner departed in free agency, Gavin Lux was supposed to take over as the starter. When Lux tore his ACL in spring training, the Dodgers' offseason trade for Miguel Rojas made a lot more sense. One of the better defenders at the position could slot in as the starter. Great.
But when Rojas started dealing with nagging injury after nagging injury, manager Dave Roberts made the call to make him a part-time player to preserve the veteran for the remainder of the season. He's also sporting an 18 OPS+ in almost 60 at-bats, so that's also not a real offensive option.
Instead, the Dodgers have given Mookie Betts reps at second base whenever the team has a right-handed starter on the mound (so far it's been six games, with another nine at second base). Chris Taylor has logged 16 games at shortstop, too. But it remains an imperfect situation.
At this juncture, however, there is no clear cut solution, and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic acknowledges that. Or, you know, they could acquire a star at the trade deadline.
"If you’re the Dodgers, you’re hoping that the Brewers or White Sox are very out of it at the deadline this year and are amenable to trading someone like Willy Adames or Tim Anderson. Other than that, it’s either ramping up Mookie Betts’ time at the position (adding a corner outfielder against left-handed pitching at the deadline would be easier to find than a premier shortstop) or hoping Chris Taylor can turn the clock back to the first half of 2021, when he had an .834 OPS and helped the club absorb the loss of Corey Seager due to a broken hand."- Fabian Ardaya, The Athletic
Can the Dodgers afford to remove Betts' Gold Glove defense off right field this frequently? Is it worth it to play him at an unfamiliar position where he'll be required to move a whole lot more than he's already accustomed to? Though Taylor has heated up offensively, can the Dodgers rely on that aspect of his game sustaining after what we've seen for the better part of the last two years (second half of 2021 and all of 2022)?
As for the blockbuster options at the deadline, the Brewers have a winning record and are in a terrible NL Central, which means they're less and less likely to sell someone like Willy Adames. The White Sox might be dead in the water at 13-24. but will Tim Anderson be among the departed assets? He's been struggling mightily so far this season (.263/.309/.329 slash line with zero HR, five RBI and five walks) in 18 games, and only recently returned after missing almost a month with a sprained knee. If the Sox can't get the desired value for him when the time comes, they'll more than likely just keep him, since he's under club control through 2024 at a team-friendly salary.
So, yeah, expect the Dodgers' shortstop situation to remain a platoon operation up until the trade deadline buzzer, which may or may not provide what's needed. Not a great place to be, but it's all working for LA at the moment, so it's hard to complain with the early returns.