Could this Dodgers rumor indicate Chris Taylor's tenure is coming to an end?

A familiar face for Dodgers fan could be on the outside looking in if this rumor comes to fruition.
Sep 24, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor (3)
Sep 24, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor (3) / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been incredibly busy this offseason. In addition to signing both Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto for roughly a gazillion dollars, they traded for Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot and have made a litany of smaller moves along the way. Without question, LA has been the most aggressive team this offseason, and it doesn't look like that is changing anytime soon.

Most of the attention thus far has been on the Dodgers' rotation, which is completely fair. Even after signing Yamamoto and trading for Glasnow, LA's starting five for 2024 is in a pretty nebulous state after multiple key free agent departures and injuries. The Dodgers could very well still swing a trade for a guy like Dylan Cease to help the cause, but the post-Christmas rumor mill instead brought word that the LA appears to be monitoring outfielder Teoscar Hernandez's market which is very, very interesting.

Dodgers' interest in Teoscar begs the question of what role Chris Taylor will play

While the rotation is priority No. 1, the Dodgers did enter the offseason with a desire to upgrade in left field. As good as LA's offense was last season, the production in left field was decidedly meh, as Dodgers' left fielders slashed .250/.317/.417 with a 96 wRC+. Not great. David Peralta got the bulk of the playing time in left and has now hit free agency, but the team looking at a guy like Teoscar Hernandez, who is coming off a down year in 2023, seems to indicate that they do not have a ton of faith in long-time Dodger Chris Taylor.

Taylor had been just a fantastic utility knife for the Dodgers for years. He made the All-Star team in 2021, and from 2017-2021, he slashed .265/.343/.461 while playing all over the field. Guys who produce at the plate with his kind of defensive versatility are next to impossible to come by, and Taylor was a big reason why the Dodgers were dominant during that stretch.

However, the last couple of seasons have been decidedly less great for him. In 2022 and 2023, Taylor posted a .708 OPS with a steep drop-off in his batting average, hitting the ball hard less often while still striking out way too much. In short, little about Taylor's game at the moment is trending in the right direction. The Dodgers do owe him $13 million a year for the next two years in addition to holding a club option for 2026, but it is getting harder and harder to justify playing him despite the team's financial commitment. If he stays, there's a good chance his role is diminished.

Nothing is certain about all of this Hernandez free agency chatter, as other teams including the Red Sox are decidedly in on him. The market for bats this offseason is very thin, so any team that is looking for an outfield upgrade is going to at least check in and see how much he is going to cost, especially given that he doesn't have a qualifying offer attached to him.

One thing IS certain, though. With the Dodgers bringing back Jason Heyward, acquiring Manuel Margot, and Gavin Lux presumably returning from injury, this Dodgers roster is looking more and more crowded, and Taylor could end up on the outside looking in when it is all said and done when it comes to meaningful playing time.

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