CONFIRMED: According to insider,a jaw-dropping $132 million Shortop trade deal is tantalizingly close to landing with the Dodgers… Stay tuned!

Andrew Friedman

Los Angeles Dodgers president Andrew Friedman might seek a new shortstop if Mookie Betts struggles to transition there

The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to kick off the 2024 MLB season this week against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea, but a critical roster spot is not yet set in stone.

After defensive issues reared their head in Spring Training, presumptive shortstop Gavin Lux was moved to second base and seven-time All-Star Mookie Betts took on the everyday role there for the first time in his career. Depending on how Betts acclimates, however, the Dodgers might look to a particular target on the trade market to take over.

“If the Dodgers get leery about Mookie Betts’ ability to play shortstop, after not playing the position on an everyday basis since high school, they plan to turn to the Milwaukee Brewers and make a run at shortstop Willy Adames, who’s a free agent after the season,” according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Have Been Connected to a Willy Adames Trade This Offseason

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic previously reported that Adames was an “obvious target” for the Dodgers, particularly as the Brewers’ chances of contending for the playoffs took a hit after closer Devin Williams suffered an injury. If the Dodgers feel their defense is struggling as Betts transitions, Adames would be an instant solution as a top-three fielding shortstop last season, per FanGraphs.

“The danger with the move, if there actually is one when talking about one of the game’s best athletes, is that Betts’ defense at short will be mediocre,” Rosenthal reported. “Heck, it should be mediocre, considering that until last season, he hadn’t played the position since 2013, when he was in A ball.”

In the early going, it’s not clear that Betts will be a solid fit in his new everyday position. He has registered two errors in Spring Training (while Lux has three), but has a strong .917 fielding percentage and three double plays. Still, after spending more than $1 billion this offseason, if the Dodgers feel they can make a move that increases their chances to win it all in 2024, there’s always the chance they will.

Willy Adames Would Be an Instant Defensive Upgrade for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Adames signed a one-year, $12.25 million deal with the Brewers in January to avoid arbitration. His ability at a critical infield position is so well respected that Tim Britton of The Athletic has projected he will earn a six-year, $132 million deal on the open market.

In addition to Adames’ stellar defense, he has a fair bat. In 2023, he slashed .217/.310/.407 with 24 homers. In his strongest season, which came in 2021 when he was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Brewers, he slashed .262/.337/.481. Those numbers aren’t stellar, but they’re better than the Dodgers’ other internal shortstop option, Miguel Rojas, who slashed .236/.290/.322 last season.

And it’s possible that Adames could be had at a reasonable price. Earlier this offseason, the Brewers traded former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes — who is also entering his walk year — to the Baltimore Orioles for Joey Ortiz, DL Hall and a Competitive Balance Draft pick. That’s the kind of cost the Dodgers can afford, as they have one of the strongest farm systems in MLB.

“Los Angeles could use the upgrade with Adames, as he would shore up the position and allow Betts to move back to second base,” Matt Levine reported for Inside The Dodgers. “If the Dodgers want to keep their high-paid superstar in Betts on the right side of the infield, and don’t feel like Lux is the long-term answer at shortstop, Adames could be an option.”