Spring training has gotten off to a disastrous start for the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Monday, their promising young shortstop, the 25-year-old Gavin Lux, was running to third, and in what looked like an effort to duck out of the way of a throw, stumbled, then had his knee buckle.
Lux stumbled, fell down into third base and immediately grabbed that right knee.
The worst has now been confirmed, with the Dodgers announcing Tuesday that Lux would be out for the season with a torn right ACL.
This comes after Los Angeles lost starting, star shortstop Trea Turner to the Philadelphia Phillies this offseason on an 11-year, $300 million deal.
The Dodgers’ bet was that Lux could take over without a substantial drop off on a manageable, cheap contract. Lux has just over two years of service time and won’t hit unrestricted free agency until 2027.
Behind Lux, who hit .276 last season with a league-leading three triples, the group isn’t very deep. Los Angeles lists Miguel Rojas and Luke Williams as their two other shortstops.
Rojas began his career with the Dodgers as a rookie, but has played the last eight with the Miami Marlins, carving out a solid career for himself. But after career bests in 2019 and 2020, his averaged has dropped significantly, form a combined .288 average in those years to .265 in 2021 and .236 in 2022. He does not hit for power, with a career 39 home runs and 269 RBIs in nine seasons.
Williams, meanwhile, is an unproven asset who spent eight games with the Giants last season, and 71 with the Marlins. He’s just 26 years old, with a career .240 batting average, one home run and 12 RBI in 244 plate appearances. He has more steals (13) than runs driven in. He’s more of a speedy, defensive utility player than anything.
What’s evident is that losing Lux is a major blow for the Dodgers, and could necessitate some additional moves from them.