Revisiting A Proposed Trade For Gavin Lux

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 19: Gavin Lux #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs the bases during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 19, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 19: Gavin Lux #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs the bases during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 19, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

A former top prospect, Gavin Lux was once seen as the next man to follow in the footsteps of Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager as franchise cornerstones. Unfortunately, that has yet to pan out. Injuries and inconsistency have been the driving force for his struggles at the plate. It doesn’t help that Chris Taylor’s growing role with the Dodgers is cutting into Lux’s reps.

The writers over at The Athletic gave their opinion on one player who could be traded from each team and Lux was the Dodgers candidate. The Athletic’s Dodgers beat reporter Fabian Ardaya broke it down perfectly, stating:

"“The question is not about Gavin Lux’s talent, but more so about fit. The departure of Corey Seager appeared to open up second base for Lux once again, and maybe it still has. But the Dodgers re-signing Chris Taylor complicates things. While Taylor won’t necessarily be the everyday second baseman and should still bounce around, he still will get a majority of those at-bats that otherwise would go to Lux. The Dodgers could look to continue expanding Lux’s defensive profile (he tried third base and the outfield last year), or possibly see what value there is for the former top prospect to try to address other parts of the roster.”"

The Dodgers still believe in Lux, but with a roster brimming with talent, the 24-year-old will be fighting for playing time. Trading him now allows for the Dodgers to sell high before his stock can fall even lower.

Five months ago, we wrote about what a trade proposal for Lux might look like. At the time, we mentioned trading Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, and either Andry, Lara, Yasel Antuna or Jeremy De La Rosa for Lux.

Why A Gavin Lux Trade Still Makes Sense

Lux is a natural shortstop but once he reached the majors he was moved to second due to the presence of Corey Seager and Trea Turner. Washington has Luis García entrenched as second, which would allow Lux to transition back to his old stomping grounds.

The Nationals are 2-3 years away from being able to contend again and adding Lux would help speed up that timetable. Despite his early struggles at the plate, he has posted solid defensive numbers at second. In three seasons in the Majors, he has 13 DRS and a -2.0 UZR.

L.A. has Trea Turner and Chris Taylor holding down the middle of the infield and a crowded outfield that includes Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock, and Zach McKinstry. It will be tough to find Lux ample playing time.

What Would A Proposed Gavin Lux Trade Look Like?

The Dodgers are in no rush to move their second baseman and while they may not be able to demand a king’s ransom and will either be looking for pieces to win now or a top prospect.

What makes it hard to put a trade proposal together is that in 144 games with the Dodgers, Lux is slashing 233/.314/.368 with a wRC+ of 86. Not encouraging. But 144 games is a small sample size and he still has the tools to put everything together.

Outside of Juan Soto, the only player that may pique the Dodger’s interest is Josh Bell, who should be 100% off-limits. Last time, we focused the Dodgers return around Robles and that is still the case here.

After an impressive 2019 rookie campaign, Robles has yet to build upon his success and instead looks lost at the plate. In 107 games this past season, he hit .203, with two homers, 19 RBIs, and an OPS of .605. However, a defensive outfield of Robles, Cody Bellinger, and Mookie Betts would be arguably the best in baseball. In his career in center, he has 19 outfield assists, 20 DRS, and a 2.5 UZR.

He has a career wRC+ of 83 and lost his starting spot to newcomer Lane Thomas. He then spent 23 games in AAA, slashing .301/.370/.566, with a .936 OPS.

A straight-up one-for-one trade would still be a little lopsided in the Nationals favor so they would need to sweeten the deal. Cade Cavalli, Cole Henry, Andry Lara, Jackson Rutledge, Christian Vaquero, and Brady House are all off-limits, but someone like Yasel Antuna could catch the Dodgers eye.

Antuna signed with the Nationals as an international free agent for $3.9 million in 2016. He was hampered by injuries early in his career, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018 and a leg injury cost him the majority of 2019.

He spent 2020 at the Nationals Alternate Site and flashed his impressive hit tool. Thanks to his patient approach at the plate and bat speed, Antuna has the potential to become a solid hitter at the highest level. After a slow start to the 2021 season, Antuna came alive slashing .272/.349/.436 since the start of July.

Harrison is 24 and spent last year at AA, flashing his power. He hit 14 homers and added 40 RBIs, but struck out 100 times compared to only 28 walks in 90 games.

Dodgers fans may feel like this isn’t enough, but both Lux and Robles have had similar struggles at the plate and have yet to fully prove themselves. Antuna can be groomed to play on the left side of the infield and has the plate discipline to become a viable piece. For Washington, they land a potential cornerstone who just needs ample playing time.