Since Corey Seager‘s 2015 debut and subsequent transfer into the beginning beginning lineup on 2016 for the Dodgers, the shortstop place has been fairly good. Positive, he missed a whole lot of the 2018 season, however the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado to make up for the deficit. When Trea Turner was acquired on the 2021 commerce deadline, shortstop was locked by way of no less than the 2022 season.
Nicely, we’re now by way of that season, and the shortstop place — for the primary time shortly — has a little bit of uncetainty to it. Fortunately for the Dodgers, there are many choices on the free-agent and commerce markets. Let’s check out who might be enjoying quick for LA in 2023 (and past).
Free brokers (2023 age in parenthesis)
Xander Bogaerts (30)
Carlos Correa (28)
Dansby Swanson (29)
Trea Turner (30)
These are one of the best free-agent shortstops available on the market.
Whereas Bogaerts hasn’t formally opted out of the ultimate three years and $60 million on his present deal, it’s all however a certainty he’ll. Bogaerts has been probably the most constant offensive performers at shortstop during the last 5 seasons. He has hit .300/.373/.507 with a 134 wRC+ since 2018, and his wRC+ has ranged between 129 and 141.
Bogaerts’ bat has by no means been a query, relatively his largest concern has all the time been his protection. Apart from the 52 2/3 innings he performed at shortstop in 2013, he has by no means posted a defensive runs saved mark within the constructive … till this season. He had 4 DRS in ’22 after averaging almost -7 DRS from 2014-21. His outs above common (5) was within the black for simply the second time in his profession (+2 in 2017). Did he make some changes and grow to be an above-average defensive shortstop at age 29, or is it a 1-year aberration that aren’t unusual to defensive metrics? For that, let’s see what Phil Neuffer at Over the Monster needed to say about Bogaerts’ protection.
“For a lot of his early profession, Bogaerts performed deeper within the gap than he does now, that means he was farther from second base. In 2022, he’s enjoying nearly as near second as ever whereas enjoying just a few steps again, on common, than he did in 2020 and 2021. Transferring over is perhaps serving to him shore up performs up the center, as Bogaerts is one out above common when going laterally towards first base, whereas he’s two outs under common going towards third. He has marks of -18 and -25, respectively, in these stats for his profession. Apart from the place he’s beginning every play, Bogaerts can also be efficiently changing the next share of what Inside Edge categorizes as routine performs into outs (97.8 % in 2022 vs. 97.2 % for his profession), however the actual distinction has been on the extra excessive finish of the dimensions, with Bogaerts changing 5.3 % of what Inside Edge characterizes as distant performs into outs. That’s a surprising quantity as a result of earlier than this season, Bogaerts had by no means made a distant play earlier than, together with his profession charge sitting at 0.7 % even with this yr’s surge. Very like turnovers in soccer, it might be silly to place an excessive amount of belief into this type of mark as predictive of future success, however it’s no less than an fascinating growth, particularly as his charges for all different kinds of performs (doubtless, even, and unlikely) have all gone down from final yr.”
So, maybe it finally ends up being extra sustainable than beforehand thought. If the Dodgers and their teaching employees might make Seager a median (by metrics) shortstop, they need to be capable of no less than get Bogaerts to maintain this degree of defensive manufacturing.
Subsequent up is Correa, who has a particular place in Dodger followers’ hearts. He’s notorious as being a part of the 2017 Astros dishonest scandal, and, considerably surprisingly, has proven a number of the most regret of any participant and coach concerned in stated scandal.
Correa signed a 3-year, $105.3 million cope with the Twins final offseason that included an opt-out after the primary yr, which he has already stated he’ll train. He hit .291/.366/.467 with a 140 wRC+ for the Twins in 2022, which was his second consecutive sturdy season after a poor 2020 (94 wRC+). All issues being equal, Correa seems like the most suitable choice for the Andrew Friedman … realizing his kind. It’s going to take a hefty monetary and prolonged dedication, however Correa has one of the best mix of offense and protection of the free-agent shortstops, and he’s the youngest of the 4, which we all know is one thing the Dodgers contemplate once they look into signing a free agent.
Swanson is coming off a career-year in 2022 — each on the plate and within the discipline. He hit .277/.329/.447 with a 116 wRC+. On protection, he was the league’s greatest with 20 OAA (seven forward of second-place Francisco Lindor) and was No. 8 in DRS with 9. He additionally swiped 18 bases. May the Dodgers swoop in and signal one other Atlanta Courageous this winter? It stays to be seen. However of the 4, his contract figures to be the “least expensive,” however will nonetheless, simply, be a 9-figure deal.
We’ve come to know what Turner is during the last season-and-a-half. He’s a streak hitter (particularly within the energy division), is among the many quickest gamers within the sport (even when he doesn’t get an opportunity to steal as many bases) and is an average-at-best defender at shortstop. Oh, and he hasn’t had a terrific exhibiting within the postseason. Sure, he received off to a pleasant begin within the first two video games of the NLDS, however he nonetheless hit simply .246/.268/.391 in 71 postseason plate appearances for LA during the last two seasons.
There are some questions on how his sport goes to age. He’ll, virtually definitely, lose some velocity and the protection doesn’t undertaking to get any higher. However he’s nonetheless a stable offensive performer after hitting .298/.343/.466 with a 128 wRC+ in 2022.
There are additionally questions on the place he desires to play. The rumor is he’d choose the East Coast, and that isn’t the primary time a participant has most well-liked to play most of his video games in a particular area (Andrew Miller). If that’s true, it’s going to take an unbelievable monetary dedication for the Dodgers to retain Turner’s companies. It’ll be one thing to observe as issues progress this winter.
Willy Adames (27)
Tim Anderson (30)
Paul DeJong (29)
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (28)
Gleyber Torres (26)
Since placing out wanting towards Julio Urias to clinch the 2020 World Collection for the Dodgers, Adames has had fairly a powerful couple seasons. He was traded to the Brewers early in 2021 and has been actually good for Milwaukee. As a Brewer, he has a .256/.325/.483 batting line with a 120 wRC+. What’s most spectacular is his energy, as he has a .226 ISO as a part of the Brew Crew. That energy mark places him within the firm of fellows like Teoscar Hernandez and Eugenio Suarez during the last two years. He’s additionally one of many stronger defenders at shortstop, with a 9 DRS and 10 OAA in 2022.
So, why would the Brewers commerce Adames? First off, they’re fairly aggressive with their trades — it’s how they’ve been so profitable during the last half-decade. Second, Adames a free agent after the 2024 season, and he might be in line for a large payday. Whereas they’ve dedicated long-term to Christian Yelich (not wanting nice presently), in addition they have some pitchers to attempt to lock-up long-term (Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodenruff), in order that they is perhaps keen to maneuver Adames now and save a few of that cash for the arms.
Anderson has a $12.5 million possibility the White Sox will simply choose up (and one for 2024 as nicely), so he received’t be a free agent till after the ’24 season. He’s coming off an injury-plagued 2022 season that also noticed him hit .301 with a .339 OBP, however his energy was sapped. He slugged simply .395 and had a sub-.100 ISO (.093). Previous to ’22, he had been one of many higher offensive shortstops within the sport. His protection additionally suffered in ’22 (-7 DRS, -2 OAA), however he had been solidly common over the previous couple of years. The White Sox — probably the most .500 group ever — might look to make a transfer if it means bettering in different areas.
DeJong is a little bit of an outlier to incorporate right here. Since signing a 6-year, $26 million extension in 2018, he has been up-and-down … actually. In 2018-19, he hit .237/.316/.440 with a 102 wRC+. Together with his protection (30 DRS, 2 OAA), that’s a lot acceptable. He was principally Adames-lite. However because the begin of the 2020 season, he has been, in a phrase, unhealthy: .196/.280/.351 with a 77 wRC+ and spent components of the final two seasons in Triple-A. His protection by no means slipped, although. He has 11 DRS and 9 OAA during the last two seasons.
The thought course of right here is DeJong wouldn’t be the centerpiece of a deal. A man who may actually intrigue Friedman is Jack Flaherty. He’s a SoCal native and, regardless of the accidents, has a fairly excessive ceiling. He’s set to be a free-agent after subsequent season and the Cardinals is perhaps keen to maneuver on from him if it means strengthening different components of their group.
In the event you’re going strictly for protection, Kiner-Falefa is the dude. He has 20 DRS during the last two years (however simply -8 OAA) between Texas and New York, and has hit .267/.313/.344 with an 85 wRC+. He’s a high-contact hitter (89.8% in 2022) and would undoubtedly give the Dodgers a distinct take a look at the plate. He’d be the low-ceiling possibility.
Torres is curiously inconsistent since being acquired for Aroldis Chapman in 2016. In 2019, he appeared like a franchise cornerstone (.278/.337/.535, 125 wRC+, 38 HR), however his subsequent two seasons had been fairly common — .255.337/.366, 97 wRC+ and 12 complete residence runs. He had a little bit of a bounce-back ’22 on the dish (.257/.310/.451, 115 wRC+, 24 HR), however even that got here with a sluggish begin. The largest concern, nevertheless, is his protection. He was -10 DRS and -9 OAA in 2021 in simply 915 2/3 innings at shortstop. In reality, he has by no means posted a DRS or OAA within the black. He performed principally second base the place, unsurprisingly, he carried out nicely (9 DRS, 0 OAA). It’s not as excessive as Turner, however form of in the identical mould.
What performs in his favor — or, no less than, could be enticing to Friedman — is the very fact he’s nonetheless younger. With Oswaldo Peraza and Anthony Volpe on deck for the Yankees up the center, they might transfer Torres now and get some assist elsewhere.
Gavin Lux (25)
Chris Taylor (32)
Lux isn’t a shortstop. Interval. Positive, he can play there in a pinch, however we all know his defensive limitations. Hell, he even has points at second base (although, appeared to get higher because the season went on). If Lux is the Dodgers’ beginning shorstop in 2023, then one thing has gone flawed over the winter.
Taylor is in the same boat as Lux. He isn’t a full-time shortstop on the MLB degree, however he can deal with it in a pinch. If he’s platooning with somebody there, then that’s effective. But when he’s anticipated to play 150 video games there, then that’s an issue.
The underside line is, the Dodgers don’t have any good inner choices (for those who don’t depend Turner). So, the beginning shortstop might be coming from outdoors the group.
Right here’s how I’d rank the non-internal gamers above, bearing in mind acquisition price, age, contract, and so on.
That is going to piss off a whole lot of you — and I’m having a tough time coming to phrases with it — however Correa is the most suitable choice. He’s going to price some huge cash, however the Dodgers have loads of that. He brings a distinct take a look at the place than they’ve had in a very long time, and he’s a very good baseball participant (even with out the banging trash cans). Bogaerts is an in depth second, particularly if the defensive enchancment is sustainable. I’ve all the time had a mushy spot for Anderson and he looks as if the form of participant Friedman would goal in a scenario like this. Similar goes for Adames. Swanson in all probability isn’t leaving Atlanta (though, Freddie Freeman wasn’t, both) and Torres could be a big-time wild card. If DeJong introduced Flaherty, then I’d in all probability rank him larger, whereas Kiner-Falefa could be the final resort earlier than having to resort to inner choices.
Keep tuned for extra rosterbation all through the winter.