Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Searching For Ways To Give Chris Taylor At-Bats

It is no secret that Chris Taylor has had a disappointing 2024 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers thus far. His current .071 batting average, 4-for-56 on the year, is not something that the Dodgers can afford to have in the lineup on a consistent basis despite all the other talent present.

His struggles have led to a significant reduction in his playing time as of late, with just four appearances in the Dodgers’ last 13 games.

A big factor in Taylor’s struggles this season is his 50% strikeout rate in just 56 at-bats. It almost impossible to give a player consistent at-bats when they are not putting the ball in play at that high of a rate.

There is also a number of other factors that are working against Taylor’s chances of getting into the lineup, like the emergence of Andy Pages and solid performances from veterans like Kiké Hernández and Miguel Rojas, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“I think it’s more performance, matchup,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the factors behind Taylor’s lack of playing time. “CT has been working really hard. I’m trying to find the right opportunities to get him in there.

“It’s very difficult because we’re still trying to win games. If you look at our roster, Kiké (Hernandez) and Miguel Rojas have been taking good at-bats. CT wasn’t, quite frankly. Trying to get him involved because you don’t get better if you don’t get opportunities, which I clearly understand. I’m trying to get a couple of those lefties untracked. We’ve run into a slew of righties. So it’s tough. But he’s certainly not forgotten.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been doing his best to give Taylor opportunities while placing the need to win games first. Back on May 7, Taylor was subbed into the game thanks to a comfortable 8-1 lead the Dodgers held in the fifth inning.

The Dodgers faced a lefty starter the very next day, but Taylor was not in the lineup after going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts the day before, and the Dodgers have yet to face a lefty starter since.

Roberts is not yet ready to give up on Taylor, pointing to his history as a streaky hitter and the hard work he is putting in behind the scenes. With all of the talent the Dodgers have collected on the roster they can afford to be patient with Taylor and hope he finds his way out of the funk he’s currently in:

“He’s a hot-and-cold guy. He’s a streaky hitter, always has been,” Roberts said of Taylor. “He’s working really hard. I think the thing for me is when he has gotten in there – albeit from time to time, not consistent (playing time) – he’s been in between and uncertain. I’d like to think there’s improvement in his work. I know the effort is there. We’ll see. I’ll keep trying to find opportunities to get him in there.”

There is the looming decision on what move will be made to make room for Jason Heyward’s return to the active roster. However, Taylor is a respected veteran figure in the Dodgers’ clubhouse and so it is unlikely that he is going to be the one pushed off the roster.

Taylor is in his eighth full season with the Dodgers and has been an impactful player for the club for a majority of his career. He made his first All-Star appearance during the 2021 season and parleyed that success into a lucrative four-year, $60 million contract with the Dodgers later that same year in the offseason.

However, the signing of that contract extension marked a steady decline for his production since the 2022 season. Taylor has always had a lot of swing and miss to his game even when he was at the height of his powers with the Dodgers, but his slugging ability always balanced it out and made his presence in the lineup a net-positive.

Chris Taylor’s numbers with the Dodgers through the years

In his first five full seasons with the Dodgers, Taylor’s lowest slugging percentage was .438 during his All-Star 2021 season. That plummeted all the way down to .373 when his decline began in 2022. He bounced back somewhat the next season, as he hit the fourth most home runs of his career and raised his slugging percentage to .420. However, it was still below the .458 percentage he averaged in his first five full seasons with the Dodgers.

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