As of now, the Los Angeles Dodgers technically have the necessary in-house replacements to get by without Chris Taylor, who was diagnosed with a fractured foot on Tuesday. How much longer is Trayce Thompson going to perform like this, though?
It’s unclear how long the super utility man will be out, but it’s expected to be an “extended period of time,” which anybody could’ve guessed upon learning the news of the injury.
Taylor helped stabilize left field in 2022 following the departure of AJ Pollock in the Craig Kimbrel trade with the Chicago White Sox. Additionally, his ability to play adequate defense out there has helped Gavin Lux log most of his reps at second base, where he’s a stronger player overall, and it’s helped considerably.
But … as much as Dodgers fans love Taylor, they have to admit that he hasn’t exactly been great this year. He’s hitting .238 with a .728 OPS and 101 OPS+ and owns a -0.4 dWAR and -3 Defensive Runs Saved (in left field) through Tuesday’s action. Not what the team was expecting after he signed a big contract extension, but it happens. Taylor will eventually be back and return to form.
The Dodgers have much bigger problems, such as immense struggles from Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy (thankfully, Justin Turner is rebounding), a thin starting rotation, and an injured/underperforming bullpen. All of that will need to be addressed at the trade deadline.
Then again, the Dodgers can fill Taylor’s void and possibly solve the offensive voids left by Bellinger and Muncy if they target a few of these guys at the trade deadline.
The Dodgers should target these 3 Chris Taylor replacements at the trade deadline
3. Tommy Pham
How about playing the mental game? Though the Dodgers own a 10.5-game lead over the division-rival San Francisco Giants, it’s never too early to stomp them further into the ground.
Acquiring Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham could be among the cheaper options come Aug. 2, and he’d also get in San Fran’s head given the physical altercation he had with Giants outfielder Joc Pederson earlier this season over a fantasy football roster technicality.
A little mental warfare couldn’t hurt here either, because Pederson is the Giants’ top offensive player, slashing .274/.342/.567 with 34 runs scored, 17 homers and 41 RBI in 70 games. Take the edge off Pederson and the Giants are considerably worse, without question.
From a playing perspective, Pham is essentially right in line with Taylor, hitting .253 with a .760 OPS and 103 OPS+. Slightly better at the plate and definitely better on defense. Not to mention, he has NL West experiencing playing for the Padres in 2020 and 2021. This would be a cheap rental that would deepen the Dodgers’ bench once Taylor is ready to return.