Taylor’s announced guarantee is a little short of MLBTR’s four-year projection of $ 64 million going into the offseason. He had hit the market as a fairly atypical free agent, never settling down anywhere on a Star Dodger roster while bouncing around the diamond in a utilitarian capacity. Despite his lack of an established role, Taylor entered the roster almost every day, earning the organization’s trust with a rare offensive punch for a utility.
The Dodgers acquired Taylor from the Mariners as part of a seemingly minor deal in 2016. It turned out to be one of the more astute choices in Los Angeles president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s tenure, as Taylor has been a very productive player basically from that point on. The right-handed hitter has posted above-average offensive numbers (per measure of wRC +) in each of the past five seasons.
Taylor comes into this production with a solid mix of plate discipline and power. He rarely pursues throws outside the strike zone, and he has become particularly adept at drawing steps in recent seasons. He also brings 15-20 home power despite playing in a pitch-friendly environment in Los Angeles. This helped Taylor make up for higher than average strikeout rates to remain a quality offensive player.
Going back to his breakthrough in 2017, the Virginia native has a cumulative line of .265 / .343 / .461. That’s 16 percentage points above the league’s average production, not far from its numbers in its platform campaign. Taylor hit .254 / .344 / .438 with 20 home runs in 582 home plate appearances in 2021, resulting in a 113 wRC + (13 points above average). He started off particularly hot, posting a mark of .277 / .382 / .452 in the first half of the season en route to his first career All-Star selection.
While Taylor’s multi-year track record always seemed to pay him off generously during the offseason, it seemed at one point that he had hit the market on a negative note. The 31-year-old dropped to a line of 0.223 / 0.290 / 0.419 in the second half of the regular season, seeing his strikeout rate soar to 33.1% in the process. But Taylor asked about his tough ending to rest with a monster playoffs, scoring four home runs in 43 playoff appearances (including a teeing shot in the National League Wild Card game) to help the Dodgers go. the NL Championship Series.
As valuable as Taylor is offensively, he is perhaps best known for his defense. Taylor has functioned as a true utility player over the years, starting games at all positions other than first base and catcher. He spends most of his time in the higher value positions in the middle of the frame, especially at second base and midfield.
His return will give skipper Dave Roberts a lot of flexibility, and it’s likely that Taylor will continue in that rover role now that he’s back in Dodger Blue. Looking at the 2022 roster, it looks like most of that time could come on second base.
Taylor played very little keystone after acquiring LA Trea Turner Nationals at the deadline for exchanges. With Corey Seager now in Texas, Turner looks likely to return to his typical shortstop position. This would leave Taylor and Gavin Lux as the favorites for playing time per second, with either player also able to spell the alleged starting field of AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts.
The specific breakdown of the Taylor Accord has yet to be reported, but the average annual value of $ 15 million is the significant figure from a competitive equilibrium tax perspective. Luxury tax calculations are based on AAVs of transactions as opposed to actual payment structures. After factoring in the Taylor deal, the Dodgers’ 2022 CBT number is around $ 231 million, according to the estimate by Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. This would have largely exceeded the first threshold of $ 210 million in 2021, although it is impossible to know precisely where the CBT markers will land in the next collective agreement.
Taylor’s signing also has an indirect effect on the 2022 Dodgers Draft. He had received and rejected a qualifying offer of $ 18.4 million at the start of the offseason. The Dodgers won’t directly lose a pick for re-signing their own free agent, but they are getting around the pick they would have received had they allowed Taylor to sign elsewhere. That’s a small price to pay for a player of Taylor’s caliber, especially the Dodgers. Because they crossed the CBT threshold in 2021, they wouldn’t have been able to reclaim a pick until after Round Four if they had allowed Taylor to walk.
Jeff Passan of ESPN First reported that the Dodgers and Taylor were making headway on a deal. Ken Rosenthal from athletics reported for the first time that the parties had reached an agreement, as well as premier with the clauses of the contract.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.