On June 19, 2016, the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a trade with the Seattle Mariners that has become a reflection of the paths each franchise has taken.
The Dodgers sent pitcher Zach Lee, their 2010 first-round pick who received the largest signing bonus they have ever given to a draft selection, to the Mariners for light-hitting utility player Chris Taylor, who was taken in the fifth round in 2012.
Since then, Taylor has performed like the player Lee was supposed to be. Meanwhile, Lee has thrown eight innings in the Majors after the trade.
As Lee pitches in his seventh organization, he is not upset about the success Taylor has had, according Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“He’s put himself in a great position. I’m sure a lot of fans, and everyone, is really happy about that,” Lee said. “I’m always happy when a guy like that turns around his career and has success, and can go to the big league level and stay.”
The year after the trade, Taylor established himself as a star for the Dodgers. He hit .288/.354/.496 with a 126 wRC+ that season as the Dodgers went to the World Series for the first time since 1988. He has not had a wRC+ below 107 in his five full seasons in L.A.
When Taylor looks back on the trade, he hopes Lee can find success in his career:
Taylor said he “absolutely” is rooting for Lee, and for any other player so close, yet so far, for so long. “From everything I’ve heard from guys over here, he’s an awesome dude,” Taylor said. “I hope he has success.”
Pitching at the Triple-A level for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds, Lee went a combined 4-4 with a 6.25 ERA and 1.61 WHIP over 24 games (16 starts).
Taylor to decline qualifying offer
Coming off another productive season, Taylor was extended the $18.4 million qualifying offer for the 2022 season. The Dodgers also gave one to Corey Seager, and as expected, both players are likely to formally decline it by Wednesday’s deadline.
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