Somehow, the Los Angeles Dodgers are doing just fine without a starting shortstop. When Trea Turner departed for a $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, LA was ready to move forward with Gavin Lux as the starter.
But Lux tore his ACL in spring training. OK, Miguel Rojas? Not quite! He's become a role player. The Dodgers have instead gotten by with part-time contributions from Rojas, Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts. And though the shortstop position has produced a weak slash line (.196/.265/.378 through 43 games this year), Taylor has begun to heat up and Betts' splits as an infielder have been incredible.
Surprisingly, however, Dodgers fans haven't been up in arms about that. That trio has been very good defensively and there's enough offense to go around.
As for Phillies fans? Not happy! But are they ever happy? It's easy for them not to be when the team is under .500 and their newest blockbuster free-agent addition is hitting .258 with a .704 OPS, 94 OPS+, 4 homers, 10 RBI, 5 steals and 50 strikeouts in 42 games.
Throw in a .964 fielding percentage and a very, very blue Baseball Savant page, and you've got the city on edge. Don't mention the 76ers' elimination, too!
Former Dodgers SS Trea Turner is off to a slow start with the Phillies
Turner's also hitting .162 with a .522 OPS with runners in scoring position and .115 with a .322 OPS in high-leverage situations. The Phillies rank 22nd in MLB in runs scored. Tough stuff.
It's not that Dodgers fans were rooting for this -- most fans enjoyed the slugger's time in LA -- but it's certainly much easier for everyone to cope with knowing this has been the productivity in the early going.
If Turner was putting up these numbers and holding the Dodgers back right now as the rest of the NL West struggles, the discourse would not be pleasant. And if his $300 million contract at all played a role in preventing the team from going after Shohei Ohtani next offseason, there would've been unforeseen outrage.
But the Dodgers always have a hunch. They certainly didn't predict Turner would be performing well under expectations across the first seven weeks of the season, but fans have to realize that very few decisions/moves blow up in their face under Andrew Friedman. The front office isn't batting 1.000, but it's damn near close.
Time and time again, the Dodgers make the most of their situation. Whether it's subbing out Cody Bellinger for James Outman, or inserting Miguel Vargas as a second baseman, or thrusting Evan Phillips into the closer role, or fostering a wild platoon situation at shortstop after letting two of the best at the position depart the last few offseasons, none of it has affected the team's output. They won 111 games last year and have the best record in the NL.
Like they say in Philly ... Trust the Process.