Dodgers: Sadly, There’s Just No Room for Chris Taylor

May 3, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chris Taylor (3) bats against the San Francisco Giants during a MLB game at Dodger Stadium. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 4-1 in 11 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
May 3, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chris Taylor (3) bats against the San Francisco Giants during a MLB game at Dodger Stadium. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 4-1 in 11 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Despite coming on like a bat out of hell for the Dodgers, Chris Taylor is most likely going to be optioned down when Logan Forsythe returns from the DL.

Despite it being the unpopular move, the Dodgers will need to option someone down to keep their bullpen stocked with eight relievers and Taylor is the most logical choice. Although he is hitting .372/491/.496, Taylor doesn’t have a track record of being a good hitter and is due for a significant regression.

The main reason Taylor will get optioned down is the Dodgers’ overworked bullpen. The LA bullpen has already thrown over 100 innings and at the current pace would pitch over 600 innings this season. This would lead to a bullpen burnout.

Despite Clayton Kershaw and Brandon McCarthy, the Dodgers are still lacking pitchers who are capable of eating up six innings or more per start. Out of the 16 starts Los Angeles has gotten out of Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda, they have combined to only pitch more than five innings just four times.  This is putting a heavy burden on the bullpen’s shoulders and doesn’t even account for Rich Hill, who seemingly leaves a game early every other start.

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On top of being able to eat up innings left by the starting pitchers, the Dodger bullpen can play matchups better with eight men. Once Alex Wood is moved back to the pen, the Dodgers will have three lefty relievers and five righties, so they can play matchups to eliminate scoring opportunities for other teams.

Los Angeles could also hold Wood and Stripling back to being more of long relievers so they can eat multiple innings if a starting pitcher has to leave early. Julio Urias is likely to be limited to 80-90 pitches a start, so he is hardly ever going to pitch more than six innings in a game. This would make an extra reliever more beneficial since he could pitch the other innings that Urias cannot due to pitch counts.

Another reason Taylor will probably be sent back to Triple-A is that the Dodgers already have Kike Hernandez who could man all the infield positions Taylor plays, as well as Chase Utley who brings a much-needed veteran presence to the Dodger locker room and similar infield versatility to Taylor.

Although he is currently slumping, Utley is the kind of veteran who goes all out and plays with a high baseball IQ, and that is something Los Angeles wants to rub off on the younger players like Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Joc Pederson.

Keeping Chris Taylor in the minor leagues will also give him consistent at-bats so he would be ready to fill in again should Logan Forsythe hit the disabled for the second time. Once Forsythe is healthy, he figures to get 80% of the starts at second base so there will only be a couple of games a week where Taylor would get to play. Given that most of Forsythe’s days off come against right-handed pitchers, the Dodgers are going to start Utley during most of his off days anyways.

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Should an injury strike Hernandez, Utley, or Forsythe, Taylor will be the first man back up, but for now, the Dodgers’ bigger concern is keeping their bullpen fresh due to its high amount of innings.