Dodgers Trade Rumors: Continued Interest In Willy Adames

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The opening series in Seoul, South Korea, is quickly approaching for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but shortstop remains a key issue for the club.

Gavin Lux was expected to be the everyday shortstop after coming back from a torn ACL and LCL in his right knee, but he has been unable to handle the position defensively, which forced the Dodgers to make a change.

Mookie Betts is now slated to be the Dodgers’ everyday shortstop, but that’s something he hasn’t done on a regular basis since he was in high school. Although Betts only has 98 MLB innings at short, the Dodgers believe he can handle the position well enough to be an upgrade over Lux.

However, Betts isn’t the long-term answer at shortstop for the Dodgers, and they may be better off addressing that sooner rather than later. L.A. did keep tabs on the shortstop market in the offseason, and they may find their answer via the trade route.

The Dodgers have been interested in Willy Adames from the Milwaukee Brewers for roughly two years now, and they would still like to acquire him, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

Yet the club still monitored the market for potential upgrades at the position this winter, and has remained interested in longtime target Willy Adames of the Brewers, as The Athletic reported Thursday.

Although Adames is coming off a down season, he would be a significant upgrade for the Dodgers overall.

The 28-year-old is one of the best defenders in baseball at any position, and he provides power from the right side.

Since Adames’ first full MLB season in 2019, only two shortstops have hit more home runs than his 108 in that span: Francisco Lindor (117) and Corey Seager (116).

Defensively, Adames ranked in the 99th percentile in outs above average (16) and his eight defensive runs saved ranked sixth. He also had a success rate of 78%, compared to his estimated success rate of 75%.

Although Adames made 14 errors in 2023, part of that was due to how many total chances he had (524) and his range that allows him to get to so many balls.

On offense, Adames does not provide much outside the long ball, and he showed that in 2023 by hitting .217/.310/.407 with 24 home runs and a 94 wRC+.

Some of that may be attributed to his low batting average on balls in play of .259, which is mostly a random stat that tends to stabilize around .300. Because of that, Adames had an expected average of .240, which would be just what he needs to get back into being an above league average hitter.

In his previous three years, Adames has run a wRC+ ranging from 109 to 126 in his best season, and he also hit a career-high 31 home runs in 2022 while driving in 98 runs.

Projection systems have Adames returning to a similar level of offense, with most projecting him to hit around .245 with roughly 27 home runs and a wRC+ around the 110 mark. With his elite defense, that would make Adames a significant impact player.

Adames is on the final year of his contract, which should keep his price reasonable enough for the Dodgers to pull off a trade if the two can match up on the return.

The Brewers also have a history of trading players in their final year of team control, which is something they did during the offseason by sending Corbin Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles.

What would a Willy Adames trade mean for Gavin Lux?

If the Dodgers did acquire Adames, that would push Betts back over to second base and leave Lux out of a starting job. Because of that, the Dodgers would likely need to trade him to a new organization.

Lux could be part of the return for Adames, but the Brewers already have a plentora of middle infielders. A three-team trade could also be a possibility with the Dodgers flipping Lux to another club and trading some of those players to the Brewers.

If there are no takers for Lux, which may be unlikely given his prospect pedigree and 2022 season, the Dodgers could attempt to convert him to an outfielder, where his arm issues would be covered up and his speed could help him thrive.

They could also do that even if there is interest in Lux, but they have seemed hesitant to move him off the infield so far.

The Dodgers’ outfield group still has questions heading into the season, but a fresh start and a change of scenery might ultimately be what Lux needs.

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