Why didn’t Dodgers extend Chris Taylor during 2021 season?

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 31: Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his three RBI double during the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 31: Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his three RBI double during the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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On Monday, Chris Taylor officially rejected the $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers, making him a free agent but attaching draft pick compensation to him should another team earn his signature.

But did it really have to get to this point? The Dodgers already let their other utility guy go when Kiké Hernandez departed for the Boston Red Sox. He went on to have a fine year and then became a postseason legend with his performance during the team’s run to the ALCS.

It’s clear how essential capable utility players are for the Dodgers, who willingly make that part of their formula. So why did they repeat history and not get Taylor under contract before the 2021 season ended?

Now, they run the risk of losing so many key players that you could look at this team as a fringe contender in 2022 depending on what other competitors accomplish around them. We wouldn’t bet on that, but we’re not ruling it out. You can’t lose Taylor, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Kenley Jansen AND Corey Seager and expect to survive unless you have the mother of all plans ready to turn the baseball world upside down and empty its pockets for spare lunch money.

Chris Taylor is now a free agent after rejecting the Dodgers’ qualifying offer.

Of all those names, however, Taylor was clearly the most affordable and least attached to Dodgers “legend” status. Apparently the Dodgers “considered extending Taylor, but it just never came to fruition”. Why?

"“Even the Dodgers have considered the possibility of locking up valuable utilityman Chris Taylor before he reaches free agency this winter,” wrote ESPN’s Jeff Passan (subscription required) back in July.“Teams understand the climate for players. Some are worried about a potential labor stoppage — about the uncertainty of the baseball world going forward. None has bit on an extension yet. But plenty of time remains until July 30.”"

You can’t tell us the Dodgers were overly concerned about “the future of baseball” to the point where they couldn’t fathom a multi-year extension for Taylor. And if you could, we’d be sick to our stomachs. You know what else would make us nauseous?

Yeah, Chris Taylor on the Giants. Unsubscribe from the mere thought of this possibility. Other teams ready to spend a lot of money are eyeing him as well. It’s not going to be pretty unless the Dodgers act fast.

Maybe it was Taylor’s All-Star first half that kept him from signing anything. But then why wouldn’t the Dodgers re-engage after he fell off a cliff during the second half? Did they get cold feet after what they had just seen?

We may only find out more details on this should Taylor leave. We recently got the inside scoop from Joc Pederson about what happened last offseason. But right now, the Dodgers are in dangerous territory of repeating a detrimental pattern for the second straight offseason. Thinking Taylor could replace Hernandez? Fine. Thinking Zach McKinstry can replace Taylor?

Absolutely not … at least, not in the immediate future.

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