The Los Angeles Dodgers intend to use Mookie Betts as their primary second baseman in 2024, manager Dave Roberts said Monday during an appearance on MLB Network. "It's pretty safe to say that No. 50 Mookie Betts is going to be our everyday second baseman," he said.
Betts, 31, was a minor-league second baseman but has primarily played the outfield throughout his 10 big-league seasons. He did appear a career-high 70 times at second base in 2023, however, and he closed out the season starting there most days while still seeing some action in right field.
Roberts suggested that Jason Heyward, who , will serve as the most-days starting right fielder in Betts' place.
Roberts also indicated that the Dodgers feel this is the best way to maximize their roster. Betts finished second in Most Valuable Player Award voting this fall after batting .307/.408/.579 (163 OPS+) with 39 home runs and 14 stolen bases. Receiving that kind of production at the keystone certainly empowers the Dodgers to field a more formidable lineup. The question is how the Dodgers will fill some of their vacancies around Betts.
Publicly, the Dodgers have signaled that they intend to start Gavin Lux, coming off a missed season due to injury, at shortstop. Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic has reported that Dodgers could still upgrade there, identifying Milwaukee Brewers veteran Willy Adames as a potential option through trade.
Elsewhere, the Dodgers are known to be a finalist for Shohei Ohtani, the top free agent on the market. Ohtani will be limited to DH duty next season after undergoing elbow surgery, making him a candidate to succeed J.D. Martinez, himself a free agent. Martinez could return if Ohtani signs elsewhere.
The Dodgers also have to finalize their outfield. As it stands, their depth chart features the aforementioned Heyward, James Outman, Chris Taylor, and Jonny Deluca. With Betts taking his talents to the infield, it now seems more plausible the Dodgers could look to add an outfielder, specifically a right-handed option, depending on how the markets unfold.
To think, that's without touching on a rotation that could use reinforcements. As such, this is the beginning of what figures to be a busy winter for the Dodgers -- and, evidently, for Betts as he prepares to enter his first spring at the big-league level as a starting second baseman.