Evaluating the Dodgers’ Short Choices: From Trea Turner to Carlos Correa to Gavin Lux

Evaluating the Dodgers’ Short Choices: From Trea Turner to Carlos Correa to Gavin Lux

Dodgers’ Tria Turner spins off the rules after hitting his home solo during the third inning in Game 2 of the NLDS against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 12. (Wally Scalig/Los Angeles Times)

It’s been a long time since Dodgers had a hole in their shortstop.

Between six solid seasons from Corey Seager and a productive season from Trea Turner, the club has been able to count on an All-Star level in the center for most of the past decade.

Among the many reasons why the Dodgers are still yearly contenders for the World Championships in recent seasons, their short play has ranked near the top.

This winter, however, the spot is in flux.

Turner is a free agent, and in line to receive the same kind of huge payday Dodgers didn’t want to give to Seager a year ago.

If Turner leaves, there won’t be a superstar heir already in the house who can slip into the potential opening.

And while there are many other big-name alternatives available at the free agency, the Dodgers are still deciding exactly how they want to tackle the situation leading into next season.

“There are a lot of options externally, and we have good options internally,” COO Andrew Friedman said during MLB general manager meetings this week. “So we have to get through that market and figure out what makes the most sense in the end.”

The first step will be to determine Turner’s future.

The two-time All-Star and 2021 National League champion didn’t hit his best numbers in 2022 (hitting average was 298 and .809 on base plus his lowest percentage since 2018) but still ranks among the most productive hitters in the majors, Especially between shortstops.

Turner has repeatedly said he would be open to returning to Los Angeles, and said his agents had held discussions with the Dodgers before the season about a possible extension.

But now that it’s on the open market, it will likely end up elsewhere next season, although general manager Brandon Gomez said on Wednesday that the team was “in contact with Tria and looking at that market”.

Meanwhile, Friedman said the team will “be in discussions with other customers operating in short-term locations” available this winter — a group that includes Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa.

A pick in that category, Correa is an All-Star and two-time Gold Glove defender who chose to withdraw from his contract with the Minnesota Twins after the season.

The only problem: It was one of the faces of the 2017 Houston Astros’ signal-stealing scandal, a controversy that remains a point of anger for many Dodgers players and fans alike.

The Dodgers have not publicly ruled out the possibility of pursuing Correa this season. Gomez said the team will first try to “stay objective” while assessing his talent level, and then scrutinize the potential complications and ramifications of his involvement in the cheating scandal if Correa emerges as a legitimate target.

“We haven’t spent a lot of time at the moment,” Gomez said, “because we think that’s something that’s likely to be more in the future.”

Correa’s agent Scott Borras has played down the impact of the scandal on the Dodgers’ interest in his player.

Carlos Correa of ​​the Minnesota Twins plays during a game against the Detroit Tigers.

Carlos Correa of ​​the Minnesota Twins plays during a game against the Detroit Tigers on September 30 in Detroit. (Carlos Osorio/The Associated Press)

“Their goal is to win and it’s hard to win,” Boras said while speaking to reporters on Wednesday. “Don’t let certain things stand in the way of professional sports.”

However, it is likely that any real chase – or eventual signature – of Korea will prove highly toxic to the Dodgers.

And while Bogaerts and Swanson still tend to emerge as other All-Star alternatives, the Dodgers aren’t seen as the first in either.

Add all that up, and that could give Gavin Lux, the club’s prospective former player who has become the club’s second every-starter this season, the inside path to take on at Shortstop in 2023.

Friedman raised the possibility without asking when discussing the Dodgers’ short options this week, saying the team “feels good about” Lux being able to take on the job at short notice if that’s how the season is being halted.

While Luxe battled defensive inconsistencies, with his throwing in particular, at times earlier in his career, Freeman cited the 24-year-old’s time to fill in for injured Seger in 2021, and performance at second base last year, as positive signs. He also noted that Shortstop is the original Luxe site.

“He did it coming and it was really good,” Friedman said. “All his life he has been short. This is more natural to him than second base.”

There are other possibilities as well. Several other short stops, such as Willy Adames of the Milwaukee Brewers or Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox, could emerge as potential trade cuts. The Dodgers also have a skilled Triple A prospect in defense at Jacob Amaya, although Friedman said his attack may need more time to develop at the Palace.

For now, the Dodgers are trying to give themselves as many options as possible, working to ensure one of their long-term organizational strengths remains that way next season.

“There are a lot of options out there and we have good options internally,” Friedman said. “So we go through that market and figure out what makes the most sense in the end.

“It’s not the same as a lot of seasons where the options are checked out versus the inside and how the puzzle is put together. There are a lot of different ways to do that.”

Surgery is possible for Trinin

After battling shoulder issues all season, Dodgers loyalist Blake Trainen still needs the off-season surgery that will cost him most of the 2023 campaign.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Gomez said surgery was possible for the 34-year-old right-winger, who missed most of the season with a partially torn shoulder capsule before suffering another shoulder setback in September.

Trenin, who signed a one-year contract extension with the Dodgers midfield that included a conditional option for 2024, made one appearance during the Dodgers’ League Series against the San Diego Padres.

However, Gomez said the team has been “balancing different options for how to operate in the off-season” with the bowler, and surgery remains on the table.

Daniel Hudson leads

The Dodgers are hoping loyal Daniel Hudson will be ready to start training in the spring or shortly thereafter, Gomez said, as the veteran right-hander continues his rehabilitation from the ACL tear that severed the 2022 season.

Gomez said Hudson, who was injured in late June but signed a contract extension to stay with the Dodgers next season, started throwing again towards the end of the season and is progressing well.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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