The Los Angeles Dodgers willingly allowing a mass exodus of talent was more than likely contingent on guys like Chris Taylor and Max Muncy having bounce-back seasons in 2023. Just think about how good the 2022 team would've been had either of those guys played to a semblance of their usual selves.
So far, there's been optimism around Muncy, who rebounded nicely in August and September from his partially-torn UCL suffered in Game 162 of the 2021 season and expressed not too long ago that his range of motion and mobility in that injured elbow is back. That should help his swing mechanics drastically and get him back to 2019/2021 team MVP status ... we hope.
At the very least, there's a reason to believe. Fans saw the bat come around, and now there's hope after some positive injury updates.
Taylor, though? Uh ... things aren't going so great. Over the last year or so, he's been slowed by a neck injury and a fractured foot, which resulted in a horrible 2022 campaign. The veteran, who had signed a four-year, $60 million extension after the 2021 season, hit .221 with a .677 OPS, 86 OPS+ and 160 strikeouts in 118 games last year.
OK, so an offseason of reset and rest probably did him good to get back on track for 2023, right? Woof. Not at all. During Spring Training, Taylor is hitting .103 with a .360 OPS and 12 strikeouts in 11 games (29 at-bats). He doesn't have a single extra-base hit.
Dodgers might be in trouble with Chris Taylor's spring training struggles
Not too long ago, Taylor spoke to the LA Times and revealed that he was working on changing his swing after he "created some bad habits" in 2022. Can't say that's a good sign for somebody entering their age-32 season after putting up five straight above-average offensive campaigns from 2017-2021.
And if the swing adjustments aren't working against lesser competition during the spring, then, in a best-case scenario, it's probably going to take a couple months for Taylor to return to form in regular-season action. The worst-case scenario? Another ghastly showing (or something of the sort) like we saw in 2022.
Taylor is still a defensive asset, which will immensely help the Dodgers after their depth took a number of hits with departures and injuries.
But they need to whole package from the 2021 All-Star, who, for years, lengthened the Dodgers lineup and made it that much more daunting for opposing pitchers.