When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Chris Taylor from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Zach Lee in 2016, they never could have expected him to become an All-Star.
Taylor broke out in 2017 and has been productive every season since, including being named to his first All-Star team this year thanks to strong first half.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has continued to praise Taylor’s play and in particular the ability — and willingness — to play any position asked.
Now in his final season before becoming a free agent, the Dodgers reportedly considered making an attempt to lock up their super utility man via a contract extension, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN:
Even the Dodgers have considered the possibility of locking up valuable utilityman Chris Taylor before he reaches free agency this winter.
In his career, Taylor has hit .257/.343/.445 with a 115 wRC+ over 2,682 plate appearances. While that is a strong offensive profile, Taylor’s defensive versatility makes him truly stand out from other players.
Taylor has seen time at second base, third base, shortstop, left field, center field and right field this season, and he has at least 100 innings at each of those positions — excluding right field — over his career.
After losing Kiké Hernández to the Boston Red Sox in free agency last the offseason, the Dodgers would be wise to make sure they can keep Taylor around because they don’t have any clear replacements.
During the 2020 offseason, Taylor signed a two-year deal worth $13.4 million that bought out his final years of arbitration.
What a Taylor contract could look like
The best comparison for a deal would be when the Chicago Cubs signed Ben Zobrist to a four-year, $56 million contract in 2015. At the time, Zobrist was three years older than Taylor will be this offseason, but their talent and production are about as similar as any two players can be.
Zobrist hit .266/.357/.426 with a 116 wRC+ in just under 7,000 plate appearances over his career. He also played every position but catcher during his time playing and he played them all well.
Because Taylor is younger than Zobrist was, there is a good chance he could push for a five- or six-year deal, especially if he gets to the open market. Regardless of years, a similar average annual value would make sense for both Taylor and the Dodgers.
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