LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers haven't been compelled to change a lineup that came within one win of a World Series championship last fall. Instead, management has focused on making minor improvements around the fringes of the roster. The Dodgers' championship window is still open -- and the current nucleus
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers haven't been compelled to change a lineup that came within one win of a World Series championship last fall. Instead, management has focused on making minor improvements around the fringes of the roster. The Dodgers' championship window is still open -- and the current nucleus will return for the 2018 season as the club seeks a sixth consecutive National League West title.
MLB.com is taking a look at the projected lineups of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the Dodgers might stack up:
LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Chris Taylor, CF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Cody Bellinger, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Joc Pederson, LF
John Forsythe, 2B
Austin Barnes, C
The Dodgers were good enough to reach Game 7 of the Fall Classic, and all the key pieces in the batting order are still there. It's already a championship-caliber lineup. Seager and Turner were banged up in the World Series, and Bellinger was a rookie, so it's entirely possible for this lineup to improve without any changes.
What will the Dodgers get from Pederson in 2018? That's the biggest question facing this lineup right now. Pederson was the Dodgers' Opening Day center fielder in '17, but he could not hold down the job and was sent to the Minor Leagues in the middle of August. Pederson returned to the club three weeks later and eventually returned to form in the postseason, after being left off the NL Division Series roster. Pederson made an impact in the Fall Classic, but his inconsistent performance last season leaves questions for '18.
WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
This lineup could see a change in the outfield between now and Opening Day, should the Dodgers decide to pursue Lorenzo Cain in free agency or trade for Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen. Both of those players are center fielders. Taylor is coming off of a breakout season, and his defensive versatility allows the Dodgers to move him around as they see fit. While Matt Kemp is temporarily back on the roster, the Dodgers are expected to flip him to another club or release him. Still, management might decide to stand pat and stay below the luxury-tax threshold. Internally, Alvin Toles is expected to be ready for Spring Training and compete for a starting job in the outfield as he returns from a torn right ACL.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance.