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The Dodgers’ revolving door at second base

LA last had a second baseman start half the games in 2016

Championship Series - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Three
Three players who combined for 64 starts at second base for the Dodgers in 2021 (and seen here after all starting in the outfield in Game 3 of the 2021 NLCS).
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Once the lockout ends and Major League Baseball resumes, among the items on the Dodgers’ to-do list is rounding out the position player set on the roster. The flexibility of the roster allows them options to go in any direction to fill their needs, but who they add might very well help answer one very specific question, even if indirectly.

Who will play second base for the Dodgers in 2022?

The logical answer very well could be Gavin Lux, who started opening day at the position in 2021 and was the regular at the position before moving to cover shortstop in May after Corey Seager broke his hand. Lux was a man without a position later in the season and was briefly optioned to the minors before adding outfield to his utility belt — with lukewarm results — in September and October.

Trea Turner took over second base after he was acquired from Washington, but only because Seager was at shortstop. Turner is expected to be the everyday shortstop in 2022, barring some unexpected transaction.

Chris Taylor, who re-signed with the Dodgers on a four-year, $60 million contract, has 88 career starts at second base, including a personal-high 33 starts there in 2021. Taylor plays all over, and will likely fill in everywhere whenever the team needs. It remains to be seen whether that need is yet at second base.

The real answer is likely that no one person will be the Dodgers second baseman this season, but rather the position will be filled by cadre of players. The team hasn’t really had a regular second baseman since Jeff Kent manned the position from 2005-08.

Dodgers second basemen, 2009-21

Year Opening day 2B Most starts at 2B Starts
Year Opening day 2B Most starts at 2B Starts
2009 Orlando Hudson Orlando Hudson 143
2010 Blake DeWitt Blake DeWitt 76
2011 Jamey Carroll Aaron Miles 61
2012 Mark Ellis Mark Ellis 100
2013 Mark Ellis Mark Ellis 106
2014 Justin Turner Dee Gordon 139
2015 Howie Kendrick Howie Kendrick 112
2016 Chase Utley Chase Utley 118
2017 Logan Forsythe Forsythe/Utley 68
2018 Enrique Hernández Brian Dozier 40
2019 Enrique Hernández Enrique Hernández 63
2020 Enrique Hernández Enrique Hernández 22
2021 Gavin Lux Trea Turner 49
Source: Baseball Reference

Kent in the final four seasons of his career started just over three-quarters of Dodgers games at second base, but in the 13 years since they’ve only had a second baseman start that often twice.

Since Kent, the Dodgers have had 10 different players start at second base on opening day, including a fun trivia question of sorts — Justin Turner, one of the best third baseman in franchise history, made his Dodgers debut by starting at second base, and in Sydney, Australia. The only Dodgers to make multiple opening day starts at second in the last 13 years are Mark Ellis (2012-13) and Enrique Hernández (2018-20).

Even though Hernández started three straight opening days at second base, during those years he only started 27.8 percent of games at the position. Like Taylor, Hernández was utilized all over the field.

The Dodgers haven’t had any one player start over 42 percent of games at second base in a season since Chase Utley in 2016. Last year was more of the same, with eight different players starting at second base, plus catcher Austin Barnes playing seven games in reserve at the position.

2021 Dodgers second base starts

  • Trea Turner 48
  • Chris Taylor 33
  • Max Muncy 31
  • Gavin Lux 26
  • Zach McKinstry 10
  • Sheldon Neuse 7
  • Mookie Betts 5
  • Andy Burns 2

Who will start at second base in 2022? Most likely, a bunch of folks.