What are Dodgers' odds in shortstop sweepstakes?

December 15th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio's Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LOS ANGELES -- And then there was one.

Coming into the offseason, most of the focus and anticipation was on the star-studded free-agent class at shortstop. That group was headlined by Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson, four players who could significantly improve most teams in the Majors.

Because of that, all four were expected to get a monster contract this offseason. It has played out exactly how everyone expected. Turner got $300 million from the Phillies, Bogaerts nearly matched that in his $280 million deal with the Padres and Correa blew both of those away, reportedly agreeing to a 13-year, $350 million deal with the Giants on Tuesday.

That leaves Swanson as the last unsigned star, and there are plenty of teams still searching for a starting shortstop. The Dodgers, who lost Turner to the Phillies, have been monitoring the shortstop market and are among the teams that have talked to Swanson. Still, given the market, it remains unlikely -- but not impossible -- that the All-Star shortstop will sign with Los Angeles this winter.

Though Turner was always going to head back to the East Coast, the Dodgers were reluctant to offer their star shortstop, who will be 30 next season, the long-term deal he was looking for. After the 2021 season, they showed the same reluctance to go past a certain number of years with Corey Seager, and he helped them win the '20 World Series title.

There’s an argument to be made that both Turner and Seager are better shortstops than Swanson, which is why there’s plenty of skepticism that the Dodgers would now commit long-term to Swanson at the position, despite the outside pressure of making a splash given the offseason the Giants, Padres and Mets have had.

At the start of the offseason, the Dodgers’ decision-makers were split on Swanson. Some were high on the shortstop; others believe Swanson is a very good player but not one who should get the years and dollars he’ll likely get in the open market. That hasn’t changed over the past few weeks, and considering my Twitter responses, fans are just as split on Swanson as the people making decisions.

If Swanson’s market doesn’t materialize as he had hoped, and he wants to sign a shorter-term deal with the Dodgers, Los Angeles will surely jump at that opportunity. Freddie Freeman, who is one of Swanson’s closest friends in the league, has also been making a push. But if Swanson continues to get the level of interest he’s getting from teams like the Cubs, Twins and Red Sox, it remains unlikely the Dodgers would get into a bidding war.

All of this is fluid, of course, as free agency takes turns nearly every day. The Dodgers will continue to look for ways to improve the roster, and adding another shortstop is a possibility. But as of now, it appears Los Angeles will roll with Gavin Lux at shortstop.

Lux was the Dodgers’ starting second baseman last season and showed improvement in nearly every area. He was also a shortstop coming up through the system. Maybe the Lux experiment doesn’t work, and Los Angeles will then need to pivot at the Trade Deadline, but it might be time to see what the former top prospect can do at his preferred position.