Dodgers' infield picture comes into focus

February 2nd, 2023

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 -- For part of the offseason, it appeared was setting up to be the Dodgers’ third baseman in 2023. That thought became even more of a reality once Justin Turner signed with Boston on a two-year deal in December.

But instead, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Brandon Gomes said Wednesday that Vargas is expected to handle the second-base duties for the Dodgers this season.

“Vargy has been taking a ton of reps at second, some at third, but we think at this point that’s his focus and that’s trending really well,” Gomes said. “He’s a great athlete, and he’s working incredibly hard.”

Vargas has been one of the players who has spent the most time at Dodger Stadium this offseason and as we now know, he’s expected to be part of the team’s Opening Day roster and will get the majority of his reps at second base.

Now, Vargas will have to prove he’s capable of handling the position on a nightly basis. He believes second base is his best position and it’s the spot he enjoys the most, other than the batter’s box. By having Vargas at second, the Dodgers are keeping Max Muncy at third base, a position at which Los Angeles rated Muncy very highly last season.

Muncy and Vargas could alternate positions from time to time, but with some of the new shift rules, the Dodgers believe having Vargas and Muncy at second and third, respectively, gives them the best infield defense, an area of question heading into Spring Training.

“I think Muncy is a great athlete, personally. He always graded out well,” Gomes said. “Vargas is our second- or third-fastest guy on the team, which is probably not appreciated at all. So he’s also a good athlete. It’s more about getting him reps and getting his feel at second base. I think a combination of it all is really strong.”

Joining Muncy and Vargas in the infield is Gavin Lux, who, barring a late move, is the Dodgers’ starting shortstop for the upcoming season. As we wrote last week, Lux has gained nearly 15 pounds of muscle and has been a fixture at offseason workouts. After waiting behind Corey Seager and Trea Turner, it appears it’s now time for Lux to show what he can do in the middle of the diamond.

“He’s been working really hard this offseason,” Gomes said. “We feel really good about Gavin and continuing to take another step, as he has over the course of his career, and take a hold of the shortstop position.”