HomeTeamsDodgersDodgers Too Short with Lux Amid Defensive Struggles?

Dodgers Too Short with Lux Amid Defensive Struggles?

As the 2024 MLB season is rapidly approaching with spring training flying by, the star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers have dominated the majority of the storylines. However, that’s not to say that even the Dodgers aren’t immune to concerns going into the season, particularly as it affects the left side of the infield, most notably at shortstop.

The expectation coming into the spring was that Gavin Lux, who missed the entire 2023 season recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, would be the next starting shortstop for the Dodgers. The road back onto the field has been a long one for Lux. He’s shown little rust at the plate batting .348 in Cactus League play and his speed and athleticism seem to be in tact as well.

The issue is Lux’s defensive struggles at shortstop compiling a handful of errors and really bad throws to first base that at times have been covered up by the Gold Glove caliber defense of Freddie Freeman.

While many might’ve been concerned by a rough outing from new ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, in which he surrendered five earned runs to the Chicago White Sox in his second spring start, the focus quickly shifted to how bad fielding and poor throws from Lux created the opportunities for those runs.

The Dodgers already have an average and perhaps below average defensive third baseman in Max Muncy, although he at least has been playing the position consistently for the past two years.

To compound that issue with a starting shortstop who has never had a strong glove, never played the position for a full season, and hasn’t played any competitive baseball for the last 13 months is head scratching.

Lux even admitted that he’s not where he wants to be in getting comfortable at the position.

“I’m still trying to feel out my knee and everything and get comfortable with that,” Lux said in an interview with the LA Times. “I haven’t really played defense in a year and a half, so I’m just getting out there and trying to get as many game reps as possible, and I’m working on the back fields and on the minor league side as much as possible to try to expedite the process.”

Amidst the defensive struggles, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went from noncommittal about Lux being the starting shortstop on Opening Day to removing him from the position altogether.

Roberts recently announced that Mookie Betts, who was tabbed to be the new starting second baseman for the Dodgers, will be sliding over to shortstop while Lux will be going back to second base.

Betts will get his first start at shortstop in Friday night’s matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, and Roberts said the move is “permanent for now.”

It could be seen as a bold move, especially with the season starting in South Korea in less than two weeks, and Betts only logging 98 innings at shortstop in his MLB career. However, Roberts appears to be trying to end a problem before it becomes a problem and keep the focus on winning.

“The No. 1 goal for us is to win baseball games,” Roberts recently said before making the position switch. “So whatever we have to do…is going to be in the best interest of winning.”

This is a savvy move by Roberts as this now allows Lux to ease his transition at a more familiar position at second, while still keeping his bat in the lineup. Betts has played enough of the infield in the past year where the adjustment should be more seamless given his athleticism and competitiveness.

The Dodgers also have veteran Miguel Rojas who was brilliant last year defensively at shortstop and could also get some starts at SS despite batting just .125 this spring.

There is also a rumor that the Dodgers remain interested in Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Willy Adames, who is in his final year of team control before becoming a free agent next winter. He’s not only a very good defensive shortstop with a .973 fielding percentage, but has some power, hitting 24 home runs with 80 RBIs last season.

So if this situation with Betts and Lux doesn’t work out, Adames could be a potential trade option for the Dodgers down the road to shore up their infield.

It might be too early for the Dodgers to give up on the defensively flawed Lux, but clearly they’re not going to wait around for him either, given the enormous expectations they have for this season.

Chris Camello
Chris Camellohttps://mlbreport.com/
Chris Camello has been a sports writer, reporter, and podcaster for 11 years covering all of the major sports teams throughout Los Angeles as well as college and high school sports. He currently covers high school football, basketball, and baseball for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and co-hosts as sports podcast called “The Outlet Forum” available on all major streaming platforms.


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