After attacking two of their top free agents over the past three days, the Dodgers managed to maintain a Wednesday.
Utilityman Chris Taylor in Los Angeles agreed to a multi-year deal, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, before Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires at 9:01 a.m. PDT and the owners imposed a lockdown. . Terms are not yet known. The deal is physically pending.
Taylor, 31, picked the best time for a resurgent season in 2021, riding a strong first half to his first All-Star appearance. He stumbled firmly to the plate in the second half – he batted .223 in 62 games – but rebounded to stardom in the post season and again increased his stock in free agency.
Taylor made his postseason debut as a bench player, but he delivered a walk-off home run in the wild-card game and started the Dodgers’ 10 final playoff games. In Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, he scored four for five with three home runs and six RBIs. He batted .351 in 43 post-season plate appearances with a 1.202 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
The Dodgers used Taylor in six positions in 2021, but he retreated from his previous levels defensively. Whether that was an aberration or a sign of things to come in his early 30s remains to be seen.
Ultimately, it became almost mandatory for the Dodgers to sign Taylor after losing shortstop Corey Seeger to the Texas Rangers. The Dodgers will take Tree Turner from second base to shortstop. Gavin Lux could then step in to play second base. But after that the depth is thin. Taylor gives them premium insurance while bouncing around the diamond. He may also play more third base in 2022 if the universally designated hitter is implemented as expected. This will give the Dodgers more opportunities to get 37-year-old Justin Turner off their feet.
The Dodgers acquired Taylor in 2016 in an overlooked trade with the Seattle Mariners. Zach Lee, a former top pitching prospect, moved to Seattle. Taylor went to Los Angeles in 86 games with a career batting average of .240. He got out in 2017. Batted in 288 with 218 home runs and .850 OPS. Previously led the Chiefs in strikeouts in 2018. After two seasons of relative struggle, he returned with .842 Ops in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. , culminating in the Dodgers’ first championship in 32 years.
The Dodgers have lost important pieces from that team over the past two seasons. They could have lost more, with Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jensen among the unsigned free agents. Taylor would not be one of them.