If there’s one main, recurring theme we keep hearing about the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s undeniably the concept of player depth. There are some fans who may actually be growing tired of the term, but it’s definitely one of the primary reasons the club has succeeded so much in recent years.
No question, there’s certainly a difference between being deep enough to adequately cover all positions and having quality player depth in those spots. Probably the full bench of the Dodgers would be capable starters for almost any club in baseball. We’ve seen a prime example of this with the Los Angeles starting rotation, as there are at least two members of the current bullpen crew who would be bonafide starting pitchers for another team.
The Los Angeles depth is visible from the standpoint of the regularity of rest being given to the everyday players. Sure, any rival club could rest their players equally as often, but the Dodgers are showing that they can win games with some of their most important players on the pine. I believe that’s what sets this team apart from many of its competitors.
Regardless, I got to thinking what this Los Angeles ballclub might look like five years down the road. There are some big contract decisions to be made in the near future, and those decisions will no doubt affect the makeup of the squad’s core. I decided to put together a prediction of who I think the team’s primary infield crew might be five years from now.
Corey Seager SS
So, I figured I’d get the most important piece out of the way first. Indeed, Corey Seager is going to garner some of the largest contract offers across the majors over the next year. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve already talked to some degree about how the Yankees might pursue him. However, I feel that the Dodgers will ultimately do whatever it takes to keep the 2020 World Series MVP in Los Angeles.
Sure, I could be wrong, and I can certainly see Seager switching coasts. However, what I can’t see is a solid defensive infield without either Justin Turner or Seager. As much as we all like Turner, there’s no way he’s going to be playing third base for the Dodgers at the age of 41. Consequently, my pick for the veteran leader of the 2026 infield is Seager.
Some pundits are saying the Dodgers could shatter the 2021 regular season record for wins, but everything starts anew at the beginning of the playoffs. Moving forward, this team is all about winning championships, not just division titles. Seager has proven that he can deliver when it counts most. Some see Seager shifting over to the hot corner at some point down the road, but my gut says he’s going to stick at short for a while.
Gavin Lux 2B
I’m not quite sure where to start with Gavin Lux, but let me first say that his toolbox is probably more complete than any other youngster on the fringe in recent years. Of course, there have been some throwing issues, but once his move to second base sinks in and becomes more permanent, perhaps those inaccuracies will subside.
Don’t get me wrong, I think I might be a bigger Michael Busch fan than most people who are familiar with his name. However, Busch’s hands and glove remain a huge question mark, and his development on defense in the next year or so will probably determine where he ends up in the organization. It’s for this reason I’m going with Lux as the second baseman of the future. Undeniably, Lux has a lot of work to do to warrant this spot. But he’s a good fit if Seager’s still around. And, with Lux at second, it affords Zach McKinstry the opportunity to continue roaming as the utilityman extraordinaire many years down the road.
Kody Hoese 3B
For all we know, the Dodgers might land some high-impact, free-agent third baseman who we haven’t yet to consider (which might be hard to do since we racked our brains last winter trying to come up with a viable, free agent replacement for Turner). Anyway, I’m going with Kody Hoese here for two reasons. First, he hits right-handed in an organization loaded with lefty hitters. Second, he has a complete set of tools, similar to the attributes of Lux.
Obviously, there’s plenty of infield talent throughout the system. Like Busch, middle infielders such as Jacob Amaya and Omar Estevez are highly regarded talent. But all of them seemingly have a weakness. Busch can mash, but he still has a long way to go with his glove. Amaya and Estevez are defensive wizards, but their respective offensive games leave a lot to be desired. Hoese hasn’t proven anything yet in the chances he’s seen in Cactus League play, but I’m sticking with him because of his well-rounded skillset.
Edwin Rios 1B
Let me first say that I believe that Max Muncy will land another extension with the Dodgers, but I feel that he’s the perfect candidate for a semi-fulltime designated hitter. He’ll still play first on occasion, giving Edwin Rios the hypothetical flexibility to cover third when Hoese is not in the lineup. I think the biggest reason I see Rios as part of this team five years from now is because of his defensive flexibility and versatility. Honestly, it will be interesting to see the stat lines Rios puts up over the course of a 162-game season with regular playing time, as it might be indicative of his future role with the team.
Catcher is a completely different topic for another time, but a few other infielders to watch over the next few years are Miguel Vargas, Wilman Diaz, Alex De Jesus, and Devin Mann.
In the meantime, as far as the upcoming season goes, many eyes will be on Seager and his contract prospects, in addition to how well Lux handles his role as an everyday contributor.