2. Chris Taylor
If you’d asked us in July, we would’ve told you that Chris Taylor had cinched up a spot on the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers — and beyond — with an All-Star, superhuman, Team MVP-level first half.
But now? Following a dreadful second half that might’ve lowered his price tag, but not enough? With Gavin Lux, Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry still floating around to contribute to filling in the super-utility role? With Max Scherzer suddenly a part of the plan, in need of an earmarked bag of dollar bills? This situation has gotten a bit more complex.
Second-half slide be damned, Taylor still ended 2021 with an above-average 110 OPS+ and another postseason “moment” on his extensive resumé from the Wild Card Game. He might not earn star money headed into free agency — or deserve it — but he’s an important piece of ~$12 million glue for a team like the Dodgers that can afford it.
But … are they willing to pay for glue? Especially in this pivotal offseason?
Last winter, Los Angeles let Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson walk, both of whom have been more impressive primetime performers in 2021. In order to guarantee himself a new contract, CT3 needed to be an All-Star for the entirety of this season, not recede slightly into the background, looking more like a supporting player down the stretch. We’re just no longer sure if the Dodgers are going to fork over multiple years for someone who couldn’t quite transcend utility status this season, though he certainly tried in the first half.