While Shohei Ohtani Grabs All Attention, Los Angeles Dodgers Seek Alternatives for Mookie Betts’ Temporary Role

Published 12/04/2023, 11:30 AM EST

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have been headlining every other news report for playing favorites in the free agency contention for Shohei Ohtani. What many don’t know is that they have an ongoing shortstop deficiency in their outfield lineup. The Boys in Blue need help to place outfielder Mookie Betts. The 2018 MVP has been playing efficiently as a defensive option every now and then. However, his not playing as a shortstop in a full-time role has led them to look elsewhere for a proper replacement.

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As far as the current free agency is concerned, placing a healthy Ohtani in the two or three slots immediately elevates the Dodgers to one of the most formidable offensive threats in Major League Baseball. However, it should not come by surprise that they are in dire needs of a permanent shortstop in the team. What if Dodgers consider an upgrade at the position? Are there any promising candidates?

The Los Angeles Dodgers and their ongoing shortstop dilemma

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The Dodgers have been suffering from the lack of a permanent shortstop for the past eleven years. The 2020 World Series champions finished in the last five on the National League’s list in terms of the total wRC+, OPS, and WAR scored, according to Fangraphs.

Their starting shortstop, Gavin Lux, became unavailable later this season after suffering from a spring training injury. They could have used the versatility of Mookie Betts’ and Chris Taylor’s defensive forms. However, Betts’ playing primarily as an outfielder and baseman and Taylor’s utility status left them to seek an aging Miguel Rojas’ help in the vacant post. According to MLBTR, Rojas is bound to the team through 2024. Following that, the Dodgers will likely ask the veteran to play as a backup.

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Lux will be back sometime in 2024 and can play as a shortstop for the foreseeable future. Just before Winter Meetings the Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes reiterated to the reporters that “Our thought is that he’s(Lux) going to be our shortstop”. Lux is a 26-year-old player with experience starting in just 50 games who just came off a massive injury stint. He cannot be relied on as the final answer to the Dodgers’ shortstop shortage.

No matter how enticing that solution may sound, for now, there are some little kinks in the play that need to be addressed. Hence, the team has tried every possible internal option, like Betts and Taylor. In the end, all they are left with as an answer is to finally start looking for an external solution to the shortstop dilemma.

Dodgers exploring shortstop upgrade?

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According to information from Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, there’s a possibility that the Dodgers might seek “an upgrade” at shortstop, as indicated by a “source familiar with the situation”. Ardaya specifically notes that Willy Adames, the Brewers shortstop who drew the Dodgers’ interest last offseason, is being considered as a potential trade candidate.

Certainly, the 28-year-old would undeniably bring an upgrade. Despite experiencing a downturn in performance last season, he remained close to league average at the plate and showcased elite fielding skills, boasting a 94 wRC+ and tallying an impressive 16 Outs Above Average. Over the last three years, Adames stands at the ninth position among primary shortstops, accumulating a noteworthy 11.3 fWAR.

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Following Adames, pinpointing additional shortstops who qualify as an upgrade becomes challenging. Let’s see who turns fans heads by becoming the promising shortstop spot for the next season.

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta

416Articles

One take at a time

"Those who gaze outward dream, but those who turn inward awaken." A pro-writer for MLB EssentiallySports, I’ve been a fan of the New York Yankees since my school days. In my adolescent years, I was introduced to the iconic franchise through one of my beloved Friends characters, Joey.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

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