With Gavin Lux out for the year, even if the Dodgers did want to upgrade at shortstop, Craig Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus is unenthused at the remaining free agents available, and skeptical that any trade targets might not even be dealt by their current team. Goldstein also noted another cost of Lux’s torn ACL:
What was really lost in Lux being unavailable this season was the ability to solve the club’s likely defensive woes by shifting Lux to second and installing Rojas at shortstop. Now Miguel Vargas needs to be able to handle second, to some degree. If he can’t, maybe it’s Michael Busch (also not really a second-sacker), or Taylor, which leaves additional at-bats for further question marks in center. (Okay, sure Yonny Hernandez is technically here, too).
Joe Sheehan at his newsletter opined that Lux missing the year is enough to make the Padres favorites to win the National League West.
“Lux’s injury, though, hits the Dodgers were it hurts in almost every way,” Sheehan wrote. “Just about every decision they made this winter — letting [Trea] Turner walk, signing J.D. Martinez to replace Justin Turner, trading Jacob Amaya for Miguel Rojas, staying completely out of the market for top free agents — was predicated on having a 25-year-old left-handed hitting shortstop making near the league minimum and putting up ten times that in value.”
For now, the Dodgers plans are to fill the Lux void at shortstop internally, with Dave Roberts telling reporters at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday that Rojas would start 70-75 percent of the time at shortstop, with Chris Taylor getting 20-25 percent of starts at the position in addition to time at third base and in left field, per Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times and Blake Williams at Dodger Blue.
Please enjoy these changeups by Gavin Stone in Wednesday’s game:
Nasty pitch sequence by @gavinbstone for the strikeout— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) March 1, 2023
Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus looked at the new pitch timer as an experiment in human behavior. “Not all humans are equally gifted at the cognitive flexibility that you need to make those adjustments. The pitch clock is going to tell us a lot about who’s who. For some players, they will quickly adapt,” Carleton wrote. “Some will take a while. No one’s going to admit to being in the second group, but it will be quietly happening. Smart teams are already thinking ahead to specifically and purposefully working with their players on those mental skills.”
One thing I did not realize until watching this video on Dodgers reliever Yency Almonte is that his older brother Denny was an outfielder drafted by the Mariners in the second round in 2007 and made it to Triple-A.
Yency Almonte (1.02 ERA) was a breakout star for the @Dodgers in 2022.— MLB Players Media (@MLBPlayersMedia) February 28, 2023
But @showtimealmonte's story isn't about the 6'5" pitcher.
It's about his 5'4" and 5'6" role models. pic.twitter.com/2C9WQAoORG