Los Angeles Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor was an All-Star in 2021. What a ride it’s been for the veteran, who was picked up off the scrap heap after an uninspiring start to his MLB career in Seattle.
Of course, the Dodgers turned him around. Like they did with Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Kenley Jansen and others.
They have a knack for this sort of thing.
However, Taylor could finish with his best campaign in the bigs yet … heading into a contract year.
Not great for the Dodgers when it comes to negotiating, but do they really need to negotiate? They print money and they’re arguably the best franchise in baseball over the last decade. Win-win!
In a positive development for Dodgers fans, the latest buzz suggests the front office is trying to get ahead of things before Taylor hits free agency.
The Dodgers are hoping to extend Chris Taylor before the end of 2021.
According to MLB insider Jeff Passan (subscription required), the Dodgers “have considered the possibility” of locking up Taylor in the middle of the season and it’s no surprise why. The value he’s brought to this team both offensively and defensively after the Dodgers lost guys like Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez is immeasurable.
So that got us thinking … what would a contract extension for Taylor actually look like given his performance in 2021 combined with his overall body of work? It’s really tough to say, but we’ll take a stab at it.
Taylor is in his age-30 season and it’s unlikely the Dodgers will invest heavily in another older player given their commitments to Justin Turner, Mookie Betts and AJ Pollock. We can also expect a new deal for Clayton Kershaw.
How does a four-year, $56 million contract sound? That’s $14 million per season to be a part of a championship nucleus. Remember, the Dodgers do have a lot of money coming off the books after 2021, but they need to figure out their situations with Kershaw, Jansen, Corey Seager, Trevor Bauer, Joe Kelly, and a few other minor figures.
This move would double Taylor’s highest salary of his MLB career for the next four seasons, taking him through his age-34 campaign. For his Dodgers career, Taylor has slashed .267/.345/.461 (.806 OPS) and has played every infield position with the exception of first base, catcher and pitcher while providing a positive dWAR.
This seems like a win for everyone. The Dodgers can keep their guy without breaking the bank while Taylor can cash out without dealing with free agency, which has proven to be arduous for the players over the last three years.
It’d be a fitting way to keep both parties happy after a 2020 World Series win and Taylor’s first All-Star nod in 2021. Who knows … maybe they’ll be celebrating another championship in a few months, too.