Dodgers drop fans ray of sunshine with Chris Taylor deal

Adam Weinrib
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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Midway through the 2021 season, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Dodgers fan who didn’t consider utility man Chris Taylor the team’s 2021 MVP.

Though his sagging second half took down his overall triple-slash, Taylor again used the postseason stage as an opportunity to prove his import. And when Corey Seager and Max Scherzer both jumped ship this week, bringing him back became Priority 1A for a suddenly-reeling (though Andrew Friedman is always calm) Dodgers front office.

Luckily, fans in Los Angeles received a rare dose of good news just ahead of the work stoppage.

Per sources, Taylor and the Dodgers began making significant progress on a deal midday Wednesday, likely taking him off the board for a series of interested rivals. When LA decides to make progress, progress typically gets made.

Just a few minutes later, per Ken Rosenthal, an agreement was reached. The Dodgers’ most important bit of glue was remaining in place.

Dodgers Rumors: Chris Taylor preparing to return to LA.

All this after we prepared ourselves for a worst-case scenario where Taylor blitzed town to roam center field/second base for the Boston Red Sox, joining Kiké Hernández in a fun-loving outfield while LA lagged behind.

The stuff of nightmares.

As Boston’s interest seemed to wane these past few weeks, Taylor became connected to a widening pool of teams that ranged from nonsensical (Yankees) to threatening (Mariners). Among the bigger names still available prior to the lockout, he appeared the most likely to find a new home, one tier below impossibilities like Carlos Correa. Luckily, he didn’t stray far from home in beating the buzzer.

Though the 31-year-old’s end-of-season numbers are relatively pedestrian, his 110 OPS+ and 2.6 WAR can’t account for the way he put this star-studded roster on his back throughout an injury-plagued first half. Those numbers don’t tell the full story of his remarkable NLCS against the Braves, when he rapped .476/.542/1.048 during a series when the other bats remained in a state of slumber. They don’t tell the tale of the narrative arc Friedman and Co. needed to complete after losing two key cogs in a 24-hour period.

Taylor’s rarely the first guy you notice on the field, but often he’s the most silently important. Wednesday was just another one of those days, the final triumphant breath before a long winter’s free agency nightfall.

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