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Hard Luck for Lux: Dodgers Forced to Replace Shortstop

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux is out for the season, forcing the team to explore new options with their middle infield.

It’s the worst-case scenario for Gavin Lux and the Dodgers, as the prized youngster finally in line to become the everyday shortstop has torn his ACL. He is out for the season. How does this affect the Dodgers’ middle-infield setup, which was notably thin before Lux went down? 

Life Sux for Lux

It’s hard not to feel for Gavin Lux. The 25-year-old and 2019 Minor League Player of the Year has struggled to develop in the big leagues with such stacked competitions for playing time. Last season, he finally took a big step, setting career bests in nearly all batting statistics. After the departures of Corey Seager and Trea Turner in consecutive offseasons, Lux was ready to take over at his natural position this year. 

Instead, a freak baserunning injury tanks his moment in the sun. On Monday, trying to avoid a throw from a Padres third baseman, Lux changed direction awkwardly and landed on his ankle. He was clearly in pain and had to be carted off the field. All signs following the injury were ominous until it finally became clear yesterday morning (according to the results of an MRI) the worst had come. He will undergo surgery on March 7.

The Rise of the Miguels

The Dodgers must now find a lineup plug after losing a centerpiece of the defense. Two Miguels, both utility infielders, come to mind immediately: rookie Vargas and veteran Rojas. Even before Spring Training, the middle infield race seemed to be between the three, with Vargas and Lux in line for starting positions. The Dodgers’ infield is precarious now that Vargas or Rojas may have to get everyday reps regardless of performance. The years of Seager or Turner as the captains of the infield are over, and the names in their place are not so flashy. However, it’s certainly possible a Miguel could rise.

Utility Players

If the Dodgers need reinforcements at shortstop or second base, defenders with positional flexibility could step in. The two most likely candidates for this move are Chris Taylor and Max Muncy. CT3 has developed a reputation for being able to play anywhere, often filling in for middle infield starters. If he were to focus on infield this season, that would leave the outfield group relatively thin. Muncy is not a shortstop, and he seems to be gearing up for third base this season, but he has been reliable as a second baseman in the past. Both are long-time Dodgers, but they had disappointing seasons in 2022. 


If Los Angeles is forced to dig deeper to find the center of their infield, a minor leaguer could get a chance. There are not a lot of clear answers there, either. Yonny Hernandez or Michael Busch could get an opportunity, but they are unproven in The Show and would need to step up in a big way to hold the infield together.

The Dodgers also signed shortstop Bryson Brigman to a minor-league deal. The signing became public hours after Lux left the game, certainly reflecting the front office’s dire (and correct) outlook on the injury.

Potential Trades

The rumor mill is abuzz once again as the characteristically big-spending Dodgers need a shortstop or at least some more infield depth. There are no confirmed connections, but one could speculate about possible big-name moves. The most logical might be a swap for Willy Adames, a consistent shortstop currently on the Brewers, especially given that the Dodgers had reported trade interest in Adames during the offseason.

Smaller deals, if the Dodgers only wanted depth and not a clear starter, are more likely–one possibility being a trade for San Diego Padre Ha-Seong Kim. Kim has been a reliable piece in the San Diego lineup and a good defender. However, the Padres’ acquisition of Xander Bogaerts and the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. from his suspension for use of PEDs could push Kim further down the depth chart than he may deserve to be and open the trade discussion.


Whether it’s followed by a major positional shift, a chance given to a newbie, a headline-making trade deal, or nothing much at all, the Dodgers season has already taken a massive turn. Adversity (or, for some, heartbreak) was the theme of the offseason for Los Angeles, and that remains the case starting Spring Training. The Padres are a juggernaut that is not going away anytime soon, as evidenced by the recent massive Manny Machado extension. There is some comfort to be had in the six-team playoff format and in Noah Syndergaard’s promising debut yesterday. There’s still a lot of great talent on this team, but with all the high hopes on Gavin’s’ 2023 season, it has to be said–Lux’s luck sucks.

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