The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the 2024 MLB season as World Series favorites after signing Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto this offseason, and while Mookie Betts being moved to shortstop is one of the more intriguing stories this spring training, it is a move that could be concerning for the team and overall defensive alignment this season.

But the Dodgers' new shortstop isn't worried about what people think, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

“It’s a little past 1 p.m. on a cold, rainy day at Dodger Stadium and Mookie Betts’ shirt is drenched in sweat. Given a brief chance to catch his breath, he talks about doubt. Not about his ability to impact games — the Los Angeles Dodgers superstar already has an MVP award and is coming off his best season since putting on the uniform.

He talks about anyone who dares to doubt what he’s attempting.

‘I think the whole world doubts it,' Betts said.

In taking on this challenge, first-base coach Clayton McCullough said, Betts left himself “vulnerable.” Players with the kinds of accolades Betts has just don’t make moves like this, Roberts said.

The new starting shortstop was having none of it.

‘I genuinely do not care,' he said Saturday, emphasizing with his hands as beads of sweat dripped off his face. ‘I just want to win.'

Dodgers shuffling infield

Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Mookie Betts (50) fields the ground ball of St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mookie Betts is one of the true superstars in MLB, and his positional versatility definitely provides value for the Dodgers, as he has played second base in a pinch for them in prior seasons, in addition to the outfield. However, for a team that has spent this much on a roster, it is a bit of an indictment that they need to use someone who has been a great outfielder in the past at the most important defensive position.

Betts played the majority of the time at second base in 2023, and he had a solid season defensively with six Defensive Runs Saved and -1 Outs Above Average, according to FanGraphs. He did play 98 innings at shortstop, recording zero Outs Above Average and -2 Outs Above Average. That is a small sample, but if Betts plays at that level for the 2024 season, the Dodgers could end up with poor defense at shortstop, barring an acquisition. The fact that they view this as a better option than starting Gavin Lux playing shortstop is a bit concerning.

There are other issues with the Dodgers' defensive alignment, however. One of those issues is next to Betts on the left side of the infield.

While Freddie Freeman plays a solid first base, Max Muncy being forced to move to third with Freeman's signing is a challenge that the Dodgers have had to deal with for the last year.

Fortunately for the Dodgers, their starting rotation is solid and getting healthier, and their offense is explosive enough (led by Betts himself) to weather any potential defensive challenges.