Even after Gavin Lux damage, Andrew Friedman hints at affected person strategy with roster

Andrew Friedman grinned, then tried to search out some levity with a sarcastic comment.

“We’re completely prone if we get one other damage,” the Dodgers president of baseball operations stated Friday, for the primary time since Gavin Lux suffered a torn ACL on Monday.

“So we’ve determined,” Friedman then stated deadpan, “we’re not going to get injured once more for the remainder of the yr.”

The remark was an apparent joke. But it surely hinted at wishful considering that the Dodgers not often wanted in current seasons.

Normally it wouldn’t have been to lose somebody like Lux this a serious downside for a staff assembled by Friedman.

Sure, the membership had excessive hopes for the 25-year-old shortstop after his breakthrough in 2022. However the newest Dodgers rosters would have had sufficient expertise and depth to adapt seamlessly.

This yr’s staff is just not constructed the identical method.

For now, they may fill the shortstop function with Miguel Rojas, a gifted veteran glove who ought to stabilize their infield protection within the low season.

However after an low season the place they’ve misplaced extra expertise than they’ve added, the Dodgers’ offense is prone to take successful with out Lux within the lineup, and their depth is worryingly depleted simply weeks into spring camp.

It’s not that the Dodgers don’t have a serious league pedigree. Of the 12 different place gamers prone to make the staff, 5 are former All-Stars and two have received MVPs.

Nonetheless, a lot of them aren’t positive they’ll be day-to-day contributors, which is why the staff appeared prone to deploy outfield platoons and common infield rotations.

And after only one damage from Lux, most of these roles might should be expanded.

A couple of examples: Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts will doubtless play extra at shortstop and second base, positions they’ve expertise with, however will nonetheless add variables to their seasons.

Trayce Thompson, David Peralta and Jason Heyward – who have been as soon as anticipated to play part-time in opposition to particular pitching matchups – look like lining up for extra common at bats.

There’s additionally extra emphasis on Miguel Vargas succeeding defensively at second base, with no pure substitute to offer a backstop behind him.

With out Lux’s left-handed bat, the Dodgers may very well be extra vulnerable to pitching right-handed, particularly within the backside half of the lineup.

“I believe coming into camp we felt actually good about our group of place gamers and felt prefer it was fairly effectively sealed for probably the most half with good depth behind it,” stated Friedman. “Now we really feel much less good about it. So we will definitely speak so much in regards to the completely different profiles that may match.”

There isn’t one “profile” that Friedman says would work greatest, leaving the door open for additions within the infield or outfield.

The Dodgers have various candidates they like, reminiscent of James Outman, Luke Williams and Yonny Hernández.

They can even consider different exterior alternatives, although Friedman tempered expectations {that a} signing or commerce was imminent.

“Spring coaching is often not one of the best time for that form of transfer,” he stated. “However we’ll have conversations and see what’s doable and what’s not.”

A couple of remaining free brokers might make sense, reminiscent of Jurickson Profar, José Igleisas, Andrelton Simmons or Didi Gregorious, however Friedman stated the Dodgers might focus extra on the commerce market if they will’t discover appropriate inner replacements.

That route doesn’t provide straightforward solutions, although, at the very least not in the midst of spring when commerce costs are excessive — particularly for a staff just like the Dodgers attempting to answer a critical damage.

“It’s not probably the most pure time to commerce,” Friedman stated, including, “Quite a lot of ambulance chasers got here out after (Lux’s) damage.”

The almost certainly state of affairs, Friedman indicated, is that the Dodgers do little for now, as an alternative utilizing the early a part of the season to take inventory of their roster earlier than attempting to fulfill a much bigger commerce deadline.

The danger there, in fact, is that the Dodgers might stumble out of the gate and dig themselves an early gap within the standings – much like what occurred in 2018, when Justin Turner and Corey Seager’s accidents practically derailed their marketing campaign earlier than the blockbuster deal for Manny Machado and finally to a second consecutive World Sequence look.

Friedman tried to not entertain such a state of affairs on Friday.

Sitting in a chair by the bullpens on the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch facility, he mentioned the choices his staff is contemplating, optimistic {that a} contender’s constructing blocks stay inside their attain.

“Clearly the Lux damage is hurting us in a number of methods,” he stated. “However … we really feel like we now have the expertise in place to place us in a extremely good place in July, after which assess that market, after which hopefully put ourselves in one of the best place to exit and to win a World Sequence.”

And in the event that they don’t should cope with main accidents anymore, he’ll take that too.

They’ve solely suffered losses to this point and it’s already giving them a uncommon headache early within the season.