Back in June of 2016, in Andrew Friedman’s second full year running the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team executed a trade that many didn’t think would be a big deal.
Fans learned early on that Friedman loved to make transaction after transaction, so of course not every move was viewed as a difference maker, especially when the Dodgers were acquiring a guy who was hitting .240 across his first 86 career games.
But Chris Taylor managed to turn it all around and become an integral member of a perennial World Series contender.
And all it cost Los Angeles was pitching prospect Zach Lee. Thanks a lot, Seattle Mariners!
The Dodgers straight-up stole Chris Taylor from the Mariners.
Just a year later, Taylor was the 2017 NLCS MVP after the Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs to reach the World Series.
As for Lee, he lasted mere months in Seattle before fellow wheeler and dealer general manager Jerry Dipoto waived the right-hander, who was claimed by the San Diego Padres.
He spent the 2017 with the organization before bouncing around to the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, and Oakland Athletics over the last four years.
A half-season of Lee got the Dodgers a Swiss Army knife player who has slashed .265/.341/.465 with 272 runs scored, 62 home runs, 235 RBI, 38 stolen bases and a 115 OPS+ across 524 games. He’s allowed manager Dave Roberts to be extremely flexible with the lineup, which has given LA an edge over most of their opponents.
Granted, Taylor has had a favorable opportunity over the last six seasons because he’s been surrounded by All-Stars in this juggernaut lineup, but the fact of the matter is that he’s delivered time and time again. He’s made the most of his situation and allowed the Dodgers to transition seamlessly after fellow utility player Kiké Hernández left for the Boston Red Sox this offseason.
Though the Dodgers lost the first game of their series against the Mariners on Monday night, they have a chance to split the series on Tuesday afternoon. Maybe Taylor can remind the M’s why trading him was a mistake one last time, since this could be his final season in Dodger blue.