The Dodgers have optioned talented young infielder Gavin Lux,. Lux had recently returned to Summer Camp after an unexplained absence that may or may not have been related to the coronavirus.
It’s not immediately clear why the Dodgers decided against carrying Lux to open the season. It had long been expected he’d be a key part of the roster after destroying upper-minors pitching in 2019 and holding his own over his MLB debut. That may still come to pass, but Lux will begin the year at the team’s alternate training site awaiting another call-up.
There’s obviously some potential here for service-time implications for the 22-year-old. He logged only 28 days in the majors last year, so even a brief absence in a shortened season could leave him shy of a full year of service when the 2020 campaign wraps up.
Lux obviously has nothing more to prove in the minors, so this decision surely isn’t about his development. With thirty active roster spots, there’s ample space to work with, though the Dodgers are surely committed to carrying loads of extra pitching. The uber-deep organization certainly has many viable candidates to cycle through at second base, where Lux had been the presumed option, though it’s still a bit difficult to imagine he truly fell short on a pure talent assessment.
It’ll be interesting to see how the organization (and Lux himself) discuss the decision when reporters have a chance to pose some questions. It could be there’s some as-yet-unknown developmental or motivational prerogative, or perhaps the Dodgers feel Lux is just in need of further work after a layoff. Whatever the reasoning, the service implications are hard to ignore given that the team could stand to pick up an extra year of control on the back end.