The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off the summer’s first blockbuster with their acquisition of All-Star shortstop Manny Machado on Wednesday, edging out a handful of other interested suitors after compiling the best prospect package heading back to the Baltimore Orioles.
Machado was slated to primarily play shortstop for the Dodgers, creating multiple domino effects that will affect a number of his teammates in the second half. Justin Turner landing on the 10-day disabled list due to a groin injury has since forced the club to adjust.
If and when Machado and Turner are both healthy and at their regular positions, Chris Taylor figures to be impacted. He’s filled in seamlessly at shortstop since Corey Seager underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in May.
With Machado in the fold, the 27-year-old was expected to receive the bulk of his opportunities elsewhere, specifically at second base and in the outfield.
Because of his defensive versatility, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said Taylor may expand to playing the corner outfield in effort to remain in the lineup on a regular basis, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Our plan is for [Taylor] to regularly get in the lineup, probably a mix of some shortstop and some second base, center field, maybe the corner outfield,” said Zaidi. “He’s shown over the last year and a half how important he is to our lineup.”
That the front office holds confidence in Taylor’s defensive ability at multiple positions is a testament to the strides he’s made since the start of the 2017 season. Taylor learned center field on the fly in Spring Training and went on to post excellent metrics despite his inexperience there.
It’s plausible that Taylor may focus on second base and center field once Machado returns to his position. Joc Pederson has fared well while receiving an expanded opportunity, but he easily could slide over to left field if the Dodgers decide against putting Taylor there.
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