Dodgers May Consider Optioning Miguel Vargas Amid Struggles

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The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2023 season with Miguel Vargas locked in as their starting second baseman, but it has been Mookie Betts seeing the majority of time there over the past few days.

Betts has started three of the Dodgers’ last four games at second base, which has come in part due to Vargas’ struggles so far this season.

“Where we’re at right now with this club, wins are always important, and I just think there comes a point where we’ve got to run out our best options to win a baseball game,” manager Dave Roberts said.

“I think having that optionality to have Mookie in the dirt, pick matchups for Miguel Vargas, with where we’re at, it’s smart. He’s grinding, he’s playing hard, but it’s just not happening. I just think sometimes for him to sit back, take a respite, watch a game, is beneficial.”

Vargas has hit just .197/.302/.370 this season, and those marks are even lower over his last 30 games, during which time he’s batted .136/.243/.273. Vargas’ batted ball data is also not encouraging, but it does back up the results he’s seen thus far.

With the rookie’s struggles, the Dodgers could consider optioning him to Triple-A Oklahoma City to help Vargas get back on track. “You know, I think everything should be on the table,” Roberts said. “I really do.

“There’s a piece of winning here, and there’s also a piece of getting his mind where it needs to be. Because clearly right now he’s pressing. He’s never struggled like this, so if it does come to that, which I do think it’s always healthy to have that conversation with young players who are struggling, it would be for the benefit of him shorter and long-term.

“Right now, he’s here and he’s going to play [Saturday].”

Vargas made a name for himself at the Minor League level with his bat, and confidence remains that he will figure out his hitting long-term. But for now, the Dodgers may be best off letting Vargas reset and possibly giving a chance to Michael Busch, another top prospect with his offensive ability as his calling card.

“I think obviously with where we’re at the last couple months, we all see what type of production it’s been,” Roberts said. “I do believe the defense is getting better, the experience with being at the Major League level, I think is helpful.

“But, it’s also helpful to feel yourself getting some hits and the confidence going. So I do think he’s additive, but at what point do you decide that it could be detrimental? I don’t know the answer right now, but I do think having a conversation in his best interest is healthy.”

Miguel Vargas maintaining confidence during slump

Vargas expressed some surprise over not hitting well but noted his confidence remains intact as he tries to improve. Roberts recently said Vargas would likely receive more off days as he continues to work through his struggles.

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