The rumors have been swirling about Mookie Betts potentially playing at second base this season. Betts is a six-time Gold Glove Award winner in right field, but has made it clear that he loves playing in the infield.
While we didn’t know exactly what that plan would look like this season, earlier this week, Dave Roberts confirmed the details to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci — and it’s even more second base than we thought.
“It’s real,” Roberts said about Betts playing second base. “The way I envision it, Mookie starts about 40 games at second base and 110 in the outfield.”
Betts playing 40 games at second base feels a little high, but clearly, Roberts wants to make his superstar happy. Verducci also asked if that meant the other 10 games would be at designated hitter.
“Nah. He doesn’t like DH,” Roberts said. “Ten days off.”
Who Takes Over in Right Field?
So the question is, if Betts isn’t in right field — a position he played 136 games in last season — who is?
Pretty much any of the Dodgers outfielders can play on the corners, so there’s a lot of flexibility for LA. Any of David Peralta, Jason Heyward, Trayce Thompson, Chris Taylor or James Outman can man that spot, so Doc would have a ton of options given who’s playing well at the time.
What Happens With Miguel Vargas?
As for the other question, if Betts is at second base, what does that mean for Miguel Vargas?
While Vargas is working to play second base this season, he still has experience at first base, third base and in the outfield. If Betts is playing 40 games at second base, those days can be used to spell Max Muncy at third base, potentially give Freddie Freeman a day off (although we know he doesn’t like those) or work with matchups and have Vargas in the outfield.
The Dodgers have always prioritized depth and flexibility, so having Betts play the infield will only help that.
The only sad thing is, if he’s playing 40 games at second base, he probably won’t be able to win a Gold Glove in right field. But if the Dodgers are winning — and Betts is happy playing in the infield — I don’t think anyone will care about that very much.
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