Could Betts move to 2B if LA signs Judge?

October 24th, 2022

has won five Gold Glove awards as a right fielder. Could his next one be as a second baseman?

According to sources, the Dodgers could become serious players in this offseason’s sweepstakes, a move that would potentially result in a position change for Betts, a six-time All-Star outfielder.

Should the Dodgers decide to let the likes of Trea Turner, Justin Turner (club option), Craig Kimbrel and Joey Gallo (among others), leave as free agents, they could have roughly $100 million coming off the payroll, giving them ample space to make a bid for Judge.

Judge started 74 games in center field, 54 in right field and 25 as a designated hitter this season, but he has spent the vast majority of his time in the Majors playing right field. While Judge -- who turns 31 in April -- could potentially take over in center field and play next to Betts, it seems unlikely that he would do so for more than a year or two given the toll the position can take physically.

Betts has been the Dodgers’ everyday right fielder since he joined the team in 2020, but the 30-year-old was drafted as a second baseman and, according to a source, would be open to a move back to the infield at some point during his career.

If the Dodgers were to sign Judge, that could hasten such a move.

Betts played seven games (including five starts) at second base in 2022, and he routinely takes ground balls there during batting practice. Manager Dave Roberts has even spoken of the benefits of playing Betts at second base, citing it as a way to keep him healthier during the long season.

“Being able to play second base is kind of something I’ve been doing my whole life,” Betts told reporters in early September. “Getting to go back there is just a lot of fun for me, personally. I really, really do enjoy it, but they pay me to catch these fly balls.”

The Giants have been considered the most likely threat to the Yankees for Judge, who grew up about 100 miles from the Bay Area. Los Angeles wouldn’t be a homecoming for Judge, but it’s a lot closer to home than New York, where the slugger has played his entire career.