Chris Taylor is having one of the most surprising seasons of all Dodgers’ players. Looking at how great he’s been this year, the office could look to move him before 2018.
Having an addition like Chris Taylor in 2017 has been one of the best surprises for the Dodgers during this magical year. Even he could not have envisioned himself this deeply entrenched in a lineup that is putting up some of the best offensive numbers in baseball. And he almost certainly could not have seen himself paroling the outfield, having never played a game there at the pro level before.
And yet here we are, deep into August and close to the playoffs. And almost right out of the gate, Taylor has contributed in every way, shape and form imaginable. When the Dodgers decided to trade away the highly touted but deeply disappointing Zach Lee for Taylor, they probably didn’t imagine he’d be hitting .313 and would be their every day lead off man. But that’s exactly where we sit.
And not to sound ungrateful or like a pessimist, but this might be the optimal time to trade Taylor. And no, I don’t mean right now in this instant but over the winter.
I have very little doubt that the team will try to shop around Chris Taylor as a marketable lead off hitter and reliable outfielder/utility man. Let’s face it, Chris Taylor is probably not going to have this incredible of a season again. At least that’s what the baseball odds tell us.
Before 2017, his best season was in 2014 when he hit .287 in 136 at-bats, so not even a full-time role. In fact, the most games he’s ever played in a season before this one was 47 in that same year.
He was never a full-time player, and when he got time to play, he was very subpar. Realistically, Taylor will more than likely be remembered for this memorable season with Los Angeles, and not much more.
I know, it sounds harsh. And I could be wrong. In fact, I sincerely hope that I am. Taylor has been perfect for Los Angeles, and seeing him excel in Dodger blue would bring me and the entire city nothing but happiness. But that’s just how baseball is, and the team should capitalize on his value immediately. I also understand the hesitancy in making a trade of a key player.
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In December 2014, the front office traded away their starting second baseman Dee Gordon. The entire fan base (and probably team) was shaken, wondering how they could trade away such a talented young player. Gordon was an All-Star in 2014 and has hit .272 while stealing 130 bases in parts of four seasons with the team. That trade hurt, but it hurts a lot less when you examine it now.
Gordon received a lengthy suspension for PED usage in 2016. No team wants that sort of bad publicity on their team, so at least Los Angeles missed out on that. They also got a decent return. Part of that return was Kike Hernandez, Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher and Andrew Heaney.
Hernandez and Barnes are now a part of the lineup, both contributing as bench players this season. Hatcher did ok (at best) for the team, and was just traded up to Oakland after the glut in the bullpen that came after the flurry of moves leading up to the trade deadline.
Heaney was flipped the same day for Howie Kendrick, who came up huge for the team in 2016. After the season, the team traded him to Philadelphia in exchange for Darin Ruff and Darnell Sweeney, while also freeing up about $13 million (money put towards the likes of Jansen and Turner). Ruf was released by the team, but Sweeney projects to be a big part of the major league team in a few years.
My point is this: trading Taylor now might be the best for the future. There is not an absolute need for Taylor, that’s for sure. The team is loaded with outfield options, as well as infield talent. There wasn’t room for him to begin with, which pushed him into a new and unfamiliar position. Taylor has been tremendous for the team, but I believe he will be in a different uniform come 2018 Spring Training.