Taylor Made For Los Angeles

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Taylor Made For Los Angeles

MLB

Taylor Made For Los Angeles

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Coming into the offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers knew that many of their key players were going to be free agents and that they likely wouldn’t be able to retain all of them, despite their deep checkbooks.

Their mid-season acquisition Max Scherzer and longtime shortstop Corey Seager headlined the free agent class for Los Angeles and would likely demand the most money. Both ended up signing elsewhere before the MLB lockout, leaving the Dodgers with some questions to be answered. While the Dodgers would have liked to bring both players back and reports indicated that they tried to do so, they were unwilling to pay the extraordinary monetary obligations needed. 

Most teams would have been down hard due to the player losses, but with the Dodgers’ patience and strong depth on the roster, it allowed them to not make the moves to retain Scherzer and Seager. Both Scherzer and Seager’s production can’t be overstated but there was another free agent that was more important for the team to retain due to his versatility and ability to allow the team to be flexible with roster construction.

Enter in Chris Taylor, who coming off his first All-Star appearance, was suggested to receive heavy interest from other clubs. Taylor is not a star player, but he does all the little things very well, and for a team like the Dodgers, is the perfect super utilityman. 

Taylor re-signed with Los Angeles right before the lockout started on a four-year deal worth $60 million dollars that includes a team option for a fifth year that if exercised, would push the deal up to $73 million. From the looks of the deal, it is a very team-friendly contract and one that the Dodgers front office has to feel ecstatic about. It was reported that Taylor and his camp told other teams trying to sign his services that money wasn’t a driving factor in his free agency and that he wanted to remain in Los Angeles. 

Taylor was essentially a cast-off when he was traded to the Dodgers in 2016 from Seattle but Los Angeles worked with him and completely recreated his career trajectory. This past season Taylor posted a batting average of .254 while hitting 20 home runs and 73 RBIs.

He has shown himself to be a reliable player that manager Dave Roberts can trust and earned a nice contract for himself. His ability to play multiple positions, including both infield and outfield, allows the team to rest players throughout the season or give them an option if an injury occurs.

With the way the roster is currently constructed, the Dodgers seem to have Gavin Lux slotted to take over second base but Taylor and his ability to play the position gives them a backup plan in case Lux doesn’t break out as well as he is expected to. 

Taylor has quickly become a fan favorite in Los Angeles due to his consistency and his postseason heroics. He was the 2017 NLCS co-MVP and owns a cumulative .842 OPS in his 236 playoff appearances all while providing some of the biggest postseason moments in recent memory.

Just this past season, he hit the walk-off home run against St. Louis in the wild card game to send the Dodgers to San Francisco and then had a three home-run game in game five of the NLCS against Atlanta to keep their season alive.

Big picture for the Dodgers, signing Taylor to such a team-friendly deal may allow them to really improve the team once the lockout ends. The Dodgers kept their guy, and many will argue that he was the most important target for them all along. 

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