The Los Angeles Dodgers have developed a next-man-up mentality of bringing in quality depth to fill in when injury strikes. A good recent example of that is when Chris Taylor immediately went on a tear while filling in at shortstop as Corey Seager recovered from a hamstring strain.
Though, it was then Taylor who needed to be replaced after he fractured his wrist as a result of getting hit by a pitch on July 14 during the series finale the Boston Red Sox. His injury allowed the Dodgers to return Matt Beaty to their active roster, and he continued his clutch hitting.
The Dodgers’ extreme depth requires players like Taylor to sacrifice everyday roles and move around the field when everyone is healthy. That has not always gone over well, especially among stronger personalities like Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, who were traded to the Cincinnati Reds last December.
Taylor, however, had a far different perspective on his uncertain role during a recent appearance on AM 570 LA Sports:
“That’s why we’re good. That’s one of the sacrifices you have to make playing for a championship team. Obviously, everybody wants to play every day, but it’s not always going to happen on this team. I’d much rather pick my spots and get in there where I can for a team that’s going to be there in October and November, than play every day for a team that’s not going to play meaningful games.”
Taylor was a shortstop-turned-utility-infielder during his first few Major League stints with the Seattle Mariners. Since he was traded to the Dodgers for Zach Lee in 2016, however, he has seen substantial time in center field and left field as well as second base and shortstop.
When pressed to name his favorite position on the field, Taylor went back to his roots:
“I do like playing all over the field. I’ve kind of embraced that once I got to the Dodgers. … Shortstop has always been my bread and butter, that’s what I grew up playing. There’s a lot of action at short, I like the aggressive mentality you have to have there. If I had to pick one, probably short.
With Seager entrenched at shortstop when healthy, it makes sense that Taylor would prioritize remaining flexible. However, when called upon in Seager’s absence, Taylor has more than held his own defensively at his natural position.