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The Gavin Lux Conundrum

The Dodgers find themselves in a conundrum.  What to do with Gavin Lux.  I wanted the Dodgers to draft Bo Bichette with their #1 pick in the 2016 draft.  Instead they drafted SS Gavin Lux.  Nevertheless, I have been a staunch supporter of Lux over the years.

I was never in favor of Lux becoming the LAD SS.  I have steadfastly maintained that Lux could have been an All Star 2B, but a mediocre at best SS.  Lux’s arm strength has never been good.  He was in the 8th percentile in 2022 in arm strength, and that was at 2B.  So how was he going to be able to make the strong throws from SS, especially going to his right.  With Muncy and his limited range at 3B, any ball hit in the 3B/SS hole is going to be a base hit.

The first change was to switch Mookie and Gavin.  I am not about to question Mookie’s athleticism.  It has not started well for Mookie, but he is going to improve with the more chances he gets.  He is not going to match the defense of Willy Adames, Nick Ahmed, Dansby Swanson, or even Miguel Rojas.  But he will play at least average defense.  What we do not know, is at what cost to his offense.

I understand that many want fans to be patient with Lux.  With the current LAD team, there really is no danger of Lux’s D causing the Dodgers to not be at the top of the NL West.  But that patience may be running thin with LAD management, including one of the more disgusted looks from Dave Roberts after a misplayed popup.  On Monday’s game:

and

 

I still expect to see Gavin Lux to be the 2B come March 20, and hope his offense makes up for his poor defense.

However, with Muncy at 3B, Betts at SS, and Lux at 2B, how confident can the pitchers be on ground balls? That is just a pitcher’s overthrow injury waiting to happen.

What are the other choices?  Betts moves back to 2B and Miguel Rojas becomes the de facto starting SS.  With the Dodgers offense, Rojas’ defense is enough of a factor.  Gavin Lux would go to the bench and take the Badger School of Defense by taking countless ground balls and throws in practice until he is at least adequate.

Another option, and one that many here do not like, is that Lux is still physically impaired and needs an IL stint back to MiLB to work things out.  I can see him staying in Arizona and Extended ST.  I cannot see Lux being optioned back to MiLB, but it is a possibility, although highly unlikely.

I agree that baseball players use muscle memory, but IMO, it is not muscle memory issues that are causing Lux’s throwing miscues.  Although it could be as he may not have had good mechanics to begin with.  NYM closer, Edwin Diaz, did not lose his muscle memory after his torn patellar tendon caused him to miss all of 2023.  All he did was strike out the side in his first ST appearance.

Another option, trade for a SS. The only one we have heard that MAY be available is Milwaukee’s Willy Adames.  It takes two teams to make a trade.  Before ST, LAD fans would not have been for a straight trade of Gavin Lux for Willy Adames, and neither would AF.  Now, Milwaukee would not consider it.  Lux would be facing the same issues with Milwaukee.  Joey Ortiz would be taking over at SS, and the defensive whiz, Brice Turang, will be the 2B.  He is 2 years younger than Lux, and figures to get much better offensively.  The Brewers are experimenting with OF Sal Frelick playing 3B, and the reports are very positive.  This would also eliminate an OF logjam. The Brewers also have prospect Tyler Black who can play 3B.  Just exactly where would Lux play?  Why would Milwaukee trade a starting SS, even in his walk year, for a reserve infielder, and one with poor defense.

I remain unconvinced that Lux can be anything more than a mediocre defensive SS. I know he grew up a SS, and played SS in MiLB.  But I would hazard a guess that most MLB right handed position players played a lot of SS in high school and college…In fact, if top prospect Jackson Merrill makes the San Diego roster as their starting CF (as many expect), that would give the Padres a former SS at every position other than catcher.  And every one of them did it as a professional.

Not to be outdone,  when Austin Nola was catching for San Diego, he also started his professional career as a SS.  Another, SD reliever, Javy Guerra, started his ML career as a SD shortstop.

So I am not swayed that Lux belongs at SS simply because he has always been a shortstop.  So was Jake Cronenworth, Manny Machado, Jurickson Profar, Fernando Tatis, Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Jackson Merrill, and Ha-Seong Kim.  And I would hazard a guess that most of those were better defensivly at SS than is Lux.

That being said, after graduating from the Badger School of Defense, proving he can make the throw to 1B without bouncing 3 times,  Lux could return to SS allowing Mookie to move back to 2B.  If Lux still remains a liability, put Rojas back at SS, and leave him there.  Don’t overreact by trading a player at his low point knowing that it would take another prospect to get a Willy Adames.  Deal with the SS position next year.

 

 

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Keith

Made It to CBR about 10:00am today, got to see May throwing from probably 90 feet, on flat ground he was throwing pretty hard, I’d be surprised if he wasn’t ready before the season is over. Saw some stretching, and some BP, it was a lot of fun. Glasnow was impressive, he’s a big boy, but what was the most amazing thing was during Shohei’s at bats. When Ohtani comes up to bat every body in the stadium stops what they are doing, no one is walking up and down the aisles, nobody is texting, or face timing, or looking at cat videos, they are all holding their phones up taking a picture or video, then about five seconds before the pitch, it gets eerily silent, nobody is saying a word, the whole stadium is watching for the pitch to arrive. I’ve never seen anything like it.

It was a two for one day, in the evening we went over to Goodyear, and caught the Reds, White Sox game. It wasn’t a Dodger game but it was fun. We saw 6, or seven HRs, I lost track, I know Robert hit two, and Moustakis hit one out to right that went completely out of the park, I know it was a ST park, but it was still damned impressive. Got to see Cease pitch, he was pumping them in at 97 all game, then out of nowhere he threw some kind of funky pitch that was clocked at 64, messed the batter all up. Next pitch was a 97 mph fastball that froze the batter, for strike three looking. Somebody is going to make a trade for him by the deadline, and the Sox are going to get a kings ransom for him.

Keith

After watching Glasnow, and Cease both pitch on the same day, I think AF picked the right pitcher to trade for.

Duke Not Snider

Glasnow looks great.
If the injury issues are indeed in the past, Glasnow could be a Cy Young candidate. He’s always had the talent, and now he’s on a superior team with superior pitching coaches.

Jorge Valenzuela

I believe (and I hope so) that Lux will be fine, he just needs time and a lot more confidence, like Vargas, they need to shake off the pressure, the results will come by themselves, they have quality and neither of them is called to be the “savior” of the Dodgers. Furthermore, these preseason games are for that, to detect, see and correct errors. It’s a process, long at times, but it’s all for the same purpose: A damn championship ring!

Maybe those sons of b@#$& knew something and that’s why they signed all the available SS! 😄

Last edited 1 month ago by Jorge Valenzuela
Duke Not Snider

Yes, Lux is a conundrum.
What baffles me is that the Dodgers vaunted front office didn’t look at Lux’s lack of velocity years ago and decide that his future was at 2B, not SS. Or perhaps turn him into a lefty-bat-first UT guy (with defensive limitations that neither Taylor or Kike have).
When Lux replaced Seager at SS for a spell in his rookie season, he was not impressive. Why didn’t they start grooming him for 2B then?
Having a great arm, like having great foot speed, often seems like a physical blessing, With work, an average arm will become above average–maybe even good. But that’s about it. Never great.
So why didn’t the brass move Lux to 2B years ago? My sense is that the current Dodgers leadership has long valued offense more than defense–even at a premium position like SS. I have long trusted the brass’s faith in Lux, but now that seems misplaced.
A few years back, I thought AF was foolish for not getting gold glover Matt Chapman from the A’s. This was BF–Before Freddie. At the time, Max played 1B–and played it pretty well. Chapman would have pushed Justin Turner to a DH/back up role.
I didn’t understand why AF let the Blue Jays get Chapman. While Freddie would sort of fall into the Dodgers lap, that forced Max over to 2B and 3B–and his defense has been criticized ever since.
For Lux’s sake, the best outcome is for both him and Mookie to thrive in their new roles.
But iI Lux thrives, but Mookie struggles, there is no way that Mookie gets benched in favor of Rojas. Mookie shifts back to 2B and Lux sits, serving as a pinch hitter and pinch runner.
I’ve got my fingers crossed for the best-case scenario in which Mookie, Lux and all Dodger fans live happily ever after.
But if things aren’t looking good at midseason and Adames truly looks like the solution, I’m fine with an overpay. Ohtani didn’t decide to take $2 million per season for the brass to be conservative. The financial engineering can be leveraged. Maybe the deal for Adames includes Lux and maybe it doesn’t. Maybe Lux is dealt later to a team that sees him as their answer at 2B and leadoff.
The goal, I think, is to build a team to compete this October.
If Adames comes over as a rental and plays well, pay the man.

Make mine Blue

What many are leaving out as an option is Mookie returning to RF (he just happens to be a Gold Glove out there). Mookie says it is all about the team winning and whatever it takes, so be it Mookie. If Lux does get it together at 2B, yeah if, and Mookie struggles at SS then hello Rojas and Mookie can move back to RF.

The reality is, this thing has become a mess.

Oldbear48

Betts is not going back to right. He is happy in the infield and feels more connected to the game, also less chance of a major injury from crashing into outfield walls, or the concrete that is at the bottom or the walls out there. So far, playing the infield hasn’t bothered his offense any.

Jorge Valenzuela

I don’t remember where, but someone wrote something more or less like this “I don’t understand why so much fascination with Lux”… I ask the same thing: Why so much fascination and insistence with Adames, that there are no other SS besides him?

If Lux fails (and everything seems to indicate that he will) there is still Rojas, Kike, Taylor, and Betts himself, worry if Smith gets injured, because then it will be a big problem!

I don’t know if there will be any prospect almost ready to take SS in the near future, so why think about Adames and not someone else who could be a starter for years?

Last edited 1 month ago by Jorge Valenzuela
Dionysus

If it’s not a mess it’ll do ’til the mess gets here.

Oldbear48

Toribo posted his projected 26-man roster and he had both Varland and Feyereisen on the roster, no Graterol. I think that is wishful thinking. The team is taking 29 players to Korea. I think come the 28th of March; Graterol will be there. I also think there might be another lefty. McFarland would be my guess.

Dionysus

Does Feyereisen even exist?

Badger

The Dodgers value offense and pitching. If you can hit they will find a spot for you.

I think Lux will start at second and eventually be average, and as long as he has a plus bat average defense is acceptable. Having been a defensive minded player and coach it saddens me to say it but when it comes to this team, score 7 a game and a bungling defense probably won’t be a problem. Yesterday’s win after giving up 4 unearned may be an example of that.

I’m assuming Lux wasn’t in yesterday’s game because he was on the back fields taking another 100 ground balls.

For the reasons I’ve already mentioned I’m still not crazy about Mookie at short.

Obviously the Dodgers are the team to beat. This middle infield discomposure will eventually work itself out. In the meantime the “how could this happen” questions will continue.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Oldbear48

Lux and Muncy were not in the game because both of them were ill. Was reported on several streams.

Badger

Just read it.

“Of greater concern for the Dodgers is not only getting both Lux and Muncy back to health, but keeping the rest of their roster from falling under the weather is imperative and could prove challenging. The Dodgers are on the verge of embarking on a long flight that could lend to other players getting sick.”

Getting on an airplane for a long flight to a foreign country seems like a bad idea to me. Best of luck to all that go.

Oldbear48

Lux is in the lineup today, Muncy is not, Owings is playing third. Padres now talking with Sox about Cease. Cole will be out for at least a month and maybe two.

Badger

I don’t understand this schedule. Over the next two weeks the Dodgers have 7 days off, play 5 exhibition games, two regular season games, in Korea of all places, then after the Freeway Series, totally unnecessary, especially this year, get down to business with 4 at home against the Cardinals. Is this being done just to help develop more interest in Korea? Japan is already roped in, so is Korea that large a market? Exhibition games I get, but not at this time of year and I certainly wouldn’t start the season over there.

Oldbear48

Simply because MLB is trying to make the game more international. This is the third time the Dodgers have done this, once in Australia, once in China and now Korea. They also played a couple of games that counted in Mexico City. That was when their last no-hitter was pitched. Four pitchers combined to no-hit San Diego.

Badger

International huh. Then send the Yankees to Germany.

Mexico and Japan I get. China and Korea I don’t. And Australia? Anyway, it’s a billion dollar business, I’m sure marketing knows what they’re doing.

Dodgerrick

This situation doesn’t make any sense. With an INF of Muncy, Betts, and Lux, they are weak defensively at 3 positions. This is not a championship INF.

As smart as the Dodgers’ front office is, they must have foreseen the possibility that Lux couldn’t handle the starting SS job. I guess that’s why they have Rojas, Taylor, and Hernandez?

Lux is a so-so offensive player so far in his brief major league career. He had an OPS+ of 109 in his one full season, 2022.

Here’s what Steve Buckley of The Athletic had to say:
“It doesn’t make sense that the Dodgers would work so hard to assemble a powerhouse team for 2024, highlighted by the 10-year, $700 million contract that inspired Shohei Ohtani to make the move from Anaheim to Los Angeles, and then decide, after spring training begins, they don’t have a shortstop.”

And “The way it’s supposed to work: Aging shortstops move to another position, not the other way around. Ernie Banks moved to first base. Robin Yount moved to center field. Cal Ripken Jr. moved to third. Rico Petrocelli was the shortstop for the pennant-winning 1967 Boston Red Sox and the third baseman for the 1975 pennant-winning Red Sox. John Valentin moved to second base during spring training in 1997 so the Red Sox could make Nomar Garciaparra their shortstop.”

And Betts is a 10 year veteran and is 31 years old. How will his body hold up?

There’s an easy solution – play Rojas most days at SS – the Dodgers have plenty of offense and can carry one bad hitter. Either move Betts to 2B and leave Hayward in RF, or move Betts back to RF and Lux to 2B.

Badger

Rojas is older now but as full time 32-33 year old in Miami he put up 2.5 WAR. If he was full time here he might reach 2 WAR. And the team could surely live with that.

As cruel as it might sound, is it maybe time to move Lux out of the organization? If not, then maybe an IL stint for an extended period of time.

The organization knows they have a middle infield problem. It could be temporarily resolved by moving Betts back to second and going with Rojas and utility guys at short. I’m a Lux supporter but I am ready for a change.

RC Dodger

I am still a big fan of Lux and think he can be an above average second baseman like he was in his last healthy season in 2022. He is coming back from a severe knee injury so he should be given time to feel comfortable again. If he struggles at 2B, then send him to OKC or AZ to work on his defense. No reason to trade him away now when his value is at an absolute low level.

Amazing that just 3 years ago the Dodgers had two of the top 5 SS in baseball on their team plus Lux. The team miscalculated in not extending and retaining Seager who was always a top SS in baseball. He is the best player drafted by the Dodgers since Kershaw and they let him go for nothing. Then they also let Trea Turner walk the next year because they felt Lux could be the everyday SS. Funny that they could spend over $1 billion on two external pitchers/DH, but opted not to keep Seager or Turner who were proven all star SS for monetary purposes.

Badger

Good take on Lux. They can hang on to him for a while.

It’s my opinion neither Seager nor Trea Turner wanted to stay out West. Money wasn’t the driving issue, location was.

Bluto

LOL. Betts just picked off 2nd while he was staring into the OF.

Badger

He was chatting with the shortstop. Probably trying to get some pointers.

Yamamoto looks like a closer.

Bobby

Noah Miller looks like a fun shortstop to watch play defense.

I sure hope he can be decent enough with the bat, because that glove is MLB ready now.

Bumsrap

He was very good in 2023 wrisp.

Bobby

Dylan Cease to be traded to the Padres! Wow.

Badger

That will help them compete for second place.

Bumsrap

“The Brewers are experimenting with OF Sal Frelick playing 3B, and the reports are very positive”. Hmmm. Sounds like something I would propose.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bumsrap
Bumsrap

I think I will worry more about Yamamoto than Lux.

norcaldodgerfan

I agree. Yamamoto looked outstanding through 4 innings pitched but then fell apart. He might be grabbing too much of the plate trying to get the first strike. Looked like the Mariners offensive game plan was to swing at the first pitch and to avoid getting into a two strike count.

Last edited 1 month ago by norcaldodgerfan
Bluto

Good to see the Dodgers do the right thing:

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/dodgers-renew-contract-for-andrew-toles-maintaining-ex-players-insurance-while-treating-mental-health/

(I am withholding commentary about how sad it is that the Dodgers need to do this in order to facilitate medical attention for Toles)

Keith

I loved watching Toles when he was here, he was such a spark plug. I’m so proud of the team I love that they would do this for another human being when they have no obligation to do so. Good for you LA Dodgers.

Keith

Thanks Bluto for giving that link, I’d been wondering how Toles was doing, I wish the news had been better, but it could be so much worse, at least he’s not missing in the wind. Mental health issues are so tough to deal with. My step sister has schizophrenia, I hope his father, with the help from the Dodgers can get him the treatment he needs.

Oldbear48

Devin Williams to miss 3 months with a back problem. Guess it is a good thing the Dodgers haven’t traded for him.

Keith

That’s to bad for Williams I thought he was going to have a really good year.

TennisMenace

Ive said this many times…..LUX is a huge liability on defense anywhere he plays and his bat isn’t a good enough asset to make me overlook his defensive flaws. We need to trade him and put Mookie back at 2B. Put Rojas back at SS. You need a sure thing playing the position….Rojas is that. So what he hits .240…we have enough sticks.

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