Dodgers Roster: Building a Working Infield

Compared to previous years, the beginning of the upcoming 2023 campaign will be a lot different for the Los Angeles Dodgers because of the uncertainty of which players will see the most regular playing time. Last year, we saw players like Trea Turner and Justin Turner — who have both departed the organization — handle the everyday defensive duties at shortstop and third base, respectively.

Although JTurner is on the downside of his career, he was still a decent defensive option at third base, at least when compared to all the alternatives the team had on the 40-man roster. Missing out on the chance to bring back TTurner was huge, especially when considering the gap the team could have up the middle to start the 2023 season.

Defensively, the infield will be anchored by Freddie Freeman at first base and Will Smith at catcher, but there’s not much written in stone outside of those spots. From what we can tell, Chris Taylor may see most of his time in a thinned-out outfield. In addition, the coaching staff will likely give Gavin Lux all the chances in the world to prove himself as the regular shortstop, leaving Max Muncy, Miguel Vargas and Miguel Rojas to fill in at the other positions.

Where Does Max Muncy Fit?

Muncy isn’t exactly stellar with the glove anywhere you put him, but one would think he would slot in better at second base, although some pundits suggest Vargas could be the better second baseman being that he has slightly better range. Over the course of his four-year minor league career, the righty-hitting Vargas made 205 appearances at the hot corner, 28 at second base, 23 in left field and 14 at first base.

Rojas also hits from the right side of the plate and has primarily played most of his MLB career as a shortstop. Over his nine years as a big leaguer, Rojas has made 719 appearances at short, 99 at third and 73 at the keystone. Although Rojas underwent wrist surgery early this winter to remove a bone formation, all indications are that he’ll be ready when spring camp opens in a few weeks.

There’s definitely a lot of balance with those options, but there’s really not much to write home about offensively, particularly if Muncy doesn’t produce beyond the numbers he put up in 2022. Conceivably, Michael Busch could see some action early in the year, particularly if the club is seeking a spark with the bat.

Designated Hitter Options

Righty-hitting J.D. Martinez will hold down most of the designated hitter responsibilities if healthy. With a career slash-line of .282/.343/.500 against righty pitching and a .306/.377/.579 line against southpaws, the 35-year-old Miami native’s splits are favorable. Still, there’s always the option of having Muncy slide into DH against right-handed pitchers should the matchups favor it.

The early perception might be that the 2023 infield will be a work in process throughout the season with the hopes of building a solid corps just in time for the stretch run of the regular season. For now, should the team stay healthy, we’ll probably see Freeman at first, Lux at short, and some combination of Muncy and Vargas handling the duties at second and third base by the time Opening Day rolls around.

Dodgers Lineups: How About Some Changes in the Batting Order?

Lineup strategies in baseball are intriguing because many teams take entirely different approaches. Some managers prefer to construct batting orders having players with the best OPB at the top, while others like to build their lineups to combat an opposing pitcher’s handedness, even if most of the hitters have decent splits.

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Muncy, Dodgers Take Finale Against White Sox to Secure Series Win

Even though the Los Angeles pitching was less than desirable, the Dodgers orchestrated an offensive explosion on Thursday afternoon to defeat the White Sox 11-9 on the road, winning the series two games to one.

Second baseman Max Muncy delivered the most damage for the Dodgers on the same day he was activated from the injured list, going 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and five RBI.

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Production From Muncy, Betts Could Take Dodgers’ Offense to Next Level

Even though the Los Angeles Dodgers are sitting at 10-3 with one of the MLB’s top records, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

When the team signed former MVP Freddie Freeman not long before the 2022 regular season finally got underway, writers across the baseball blogosphere began talking about how potent the Los Angeles lineup might be. However, there have been a few cold bats — most notably the lumber of Max Muncy and Mookie Betts — that have relegated the club to the fifth-best hitting and the second-best run producing team in the majors.

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What Lies Ahead for Gavin Lux?

One of the most fun things about spring training is watching players compete for regular playing time, especially at the positions where there’s still uncertainty. While the Dodgers have plenty of spots on the field that are locked down, there could be one or two that are decided in the final moments leading up to Opening Day.

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Max Muncy, Walker Buehler Standing Out as NL Awards Favorites

The Los Angeles Dodgers have seemingly shifted into the next gear in the month of August, and at the right time to do so. So far they are 12-3 this month, and have gained two games on the first place San Francisco Giants in the NL West.

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Dodgers Injury Notes: Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, More

(Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

For as much as the summer trade deadline hyped up all those close to the Dodgers, the injury setbacks and bullpen use are still lingering concerns as the final third of the season approaches.

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Dodgers Acquire Billy McKinney from Mets; Corey Seager Still Not Ready

(Getty Images photo)

Although the Dodgers continue to hang right beside the Giants in a tightly contested NL West race, things are once again worsening for Los Angeles on the injury front.

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Who Is Dodgers’ MVP for First Half of 2021?

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

With a little over two weeks until the 2021 All-Star break, teams will look to prepare for the second half of the season. So far this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 48-31 and two and a half games back behind the San Francisco Giants, who currently have the best record in the majors.

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