With the return of Miguel Rojas to the starting lineup, Dave Roberts has a little bit of a problem on his hands. The Dodgers kind of have too many shortstops. Rojas along with Chris Taylor opened the season as the primary guys in the rotation at the position but since then, the team has added superstar right fielder Mookie Betts to the mix.
For the first time in a long time, the Dodgers have some inconsistency up the middle. For the better part of six seasons, Roberts was able to pencil Corey Seager in at short. And for the one season he wasn’t, Andrew Friedman went out and traded for Manny Machado at the deadline.
After Seager left to join the Texas Rangers, the successor at shortstop was already there. Friedman had traded for him at the deadline in 2021. That guy was, of course, Trea Turner. He left LA this past winter to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies for a bunch of years and lots of money.
Even then, the Dodgers felt they had Turner’s successor in place with Gavin Lux. Then he blew out his knee.
Roberts had all of that in mind when asked about the team’s game plan moving forward at shortstop with the return of Rojas and the emergence of Betts.
“There’s no one way to manage a roster, but typically the shortstop position is pretty consistent. Sometimes you concede the bat for the consistent defense; we just haven’t had that this year. … It’s not ideal. Whether it’s good or bad, I think time will tell.”
As they usually do with these things, it feels like this is a situation that will sort itself out. It just might not be as consistent as Dave is used to. If the club is looking to maximize offense at the position, Mookie Betts is the answer. But he’s also a six-time Gold Glove award winner out in right field, so it’s understandably tough for the Dodgers to want to go all in on a position change for their $365 million man.
Notably, it is helpful that the roster also has a five-time Gold Glove award winning outfielder in Jason Heyward ready to fill in out in right field whenever needed. It’s also worth noting that J Hey is slashing .323/.447/.548 since April 18th.
And if we’re considering stats here, Mookie is hitting much better when he starts on the infield, something he admits makes him much happier.
The next 30-45 games will be a good indicator of what works best for this team. In an out of the box ideal world, Mookie can take over at shortstop four or five games per week and Rojas or Taylor would mix in against opposing left-handed starting pitchers.