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How Royals' 2018 starting lineup looks today

Hosmer's decision in free agency to determine KC's outlook
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- There likely are plenty more changes coming to the Royals' roster over the next weeks leading into Spring Training.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore has made it clear his team is in the beginning stages of a rebuild.

KANSAS CITY -- There likely are plenty more changes coming to the Royals' roster over the next weeks leading into Spring Training.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore has made it clear his team is in the beginning stages of a rebuild.

How severe will the rebuild be? That is unknown, and it may depend on if they can re-sign first baseman Eric Hosmer. With Hosmer back, the rebuild might not be as dramatic. Without him, Moore may decide to purge almost every player who is desirable to other teams, knowing that the Royals aren't likely to compete for the postseason for several years.

Video: Flanagan on potential Hosmer, Royals reunion

In the midst of all of this uncertainty, if the season started today, this is what the Royals' lineup might look like come March 29 at Kauffman Stadium.

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Whit Merrifield, 2B
Paulo Orlando, CF
Salvador Perez, C
Brandon Moss, 1B
Jorge Bonifacio, RF
Alex Gordon, LF
Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
Jorge Soler, DH
Raul Mondesi, SS

STRENGTH
If the Royals don't trade Merrifield, he proved last season to be a proven dynamic hitter at the top of the lineup. He slashed .288/.324/.460 with 19 home runs and 34 steals. Orlando is a speedy No. 2 hitter who can slash to all fields. The Royals are hoping Gordon continues to utilize the opposite field as he did during a 20-game stretch in September when he hit .317 with a .990 OPS. Soler could present some pop at the bottom of the order, and Mondesi has the speed and occasional pop to inflict some damage at the bottom of the order.

QUESTION MARK
Perez and Moss are not reliable run-producers and strike out too much. Bonifacio could be headed toward a sophomore slump. Orlando took a nose dive in 2017 after a quality '16 season. And no one knows if Gordon will return to his 2011-15 form, or if Soler can consistently hit big league pitching, or if Mondesi will turn the corner and realize his potential.

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
Everything. The Royals could re-sign Hosmer, which would secure the first-base spot and then create a desirable DH platoon of Moss/Soler. Also, Merrifield could be dealt, which would mean the Royals would be looking for a second baseman and leadoff hitter when the season starts. Almost anything could change as Moore looks to rebuild the farm system, meaning any player with value could be dealt. Stay tuned.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals