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Dodgers notes: Gavin Lux’s role, Sam McWilliams steps away

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MLB: Spring Training- Los Angeles Dodgers-Workouts Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not exactly accurate to say Gavin Lux is the odd man with a stacked Dodgers lineup, not with five 30-something regulars. Lux will likely be deployed at multiple positions in an effort to get him at-bats, and given how injuries always happen there will be at-bats for Lux, at some point.

Signing Freddie Freeman was a boon for the Dodgers just by having Freeman, but also by augmenting a depth chart that was severely tested last season. While Lux could be an inviting trade piece to acquire a frontline starting pitcher, having him around as an extra semi-regular makes the Dodgers even more formidable.

Craig Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus provided a primer on the Dodgers, and in discussing a hypothetical trade for Reds ace Luis Castillo perfectly articulated why dealing Lux could be a mistake:

Lux serves as the low-cost bridge between potential cores for this organization, and losing his flexibility and ceiling in pursuit of another dominant arm could be short-sighted with [Dustin] May’s return on the horizon.

Lux is 24, by the way.


Sam McWilliams was drafted by the Dodgers in the 19th round in 2018, and last year hit .304/.384/.524 with 32 doubles, 14 home runs, and 12 stolen bases in 87 games for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, while playing second base and all three outfield positions.

McWilliams doesn’t turn 24 until May but in an Instagram post on Thursday said he’s stepping away from baseball, though he did not use the word retirement.

“This great game of baseball taught me more about life than I would’ve ever imagined. I will forever cherish the friendships I made along the way and will never regret the decision to play for the best organization in baseball,” McWilliams said. “With that being said, I’ve decided to step away from the game and do what is best for me and my wife as for now.”

Payroll minutiae

Ben Clemens at FanGraphs dove into a potential wrinkle in how competitive balance tax payroll is calculated for traded players.

Players not yet eligible for salary arbitration are technically at the whim of teams when it comes to their salaries. The vast majority of these players usually agree to terms each year on a contract, but if an agreement can’t be made the teams can renew a player’s contract for whatever salary they want. Among the 16 players across MLB who had their contracts renewed without an agreement, per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, was Matt Beaty, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday, for $730,000.

Also included in that renewed group was Andrew Toles, though his contract at the minimum salary of $700,000 isn’t the notable part since players are paid for each day in the majors, but rather that Toles, who last played in 2018 and has dealt with mental health issues the last few years, is still eligible for MLB health insurance.

Unique footwear

Please enjoy Andrew Heaney’s shower shoes, per Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated: