Chicago Cubs: This Dodgers player could be a sneaky offseason target
Fresh off his heroics in the NL Wild Card game, as well as a two-hit game in his first start of the postseason, Chris Taylor seems to be shaking off his dreadful 8-for-72 stretch to end the 2021 regular season. Though he struggled for much of the second half after his first career All-Star appearance, he still finished with 3.1 fWAR and a 113 wRC+.
With the Chicago Cubs declaring that they will “spend intelligently,” Taylor is one name that makes perfect sense for the team in 2022. Chicago will undoubtedly be focusing heavily on pitching this winter, but Jed Hoyer can’t ignore the lineup either, and Taylor is a perfect solution for multiple weak spots on the roster right now.
While there has been speculation that the Cubs could be interested in a top shortstop such as Carlos Correa, Corey Seager or Trevor Story, it may be more of a dream scenario than a realistic course of action. The Cubs likely won’t be overly willing to spend top dollar this winter as they likely still won’t be contenders in 2022, and may wait until they’re closer to competing to go all-in.
Taylor, however, won’t fetch the same amount as the cream of the crop in this free agency class, but could still slot in as the starting shortstop if David Ross feels so inclined. Taylor has plenty of experience at both middle infield positions, and though he’s primarily an outfielder in Los Angeles, he could easily slide back into the infield.
This likely isn’t the scenario the Cubs would be looking at, however, as Nick Madrigal and Nico Hoerner seem to be the likely second base and shortstop options for 2022. Luckily, Taylor can play all three outfield spots and would be an easy upgrade over any of the current outfielders on the roster, no matter the spot.
Taylor’s utility should make him highly coveted by many teams, but it’s hard to see him fetching a truly long-term or pricey deal. Taylor isn’t without some drawbacks as well that could scare some teams off of him.
For one, the veteran was a late bloomer with the Dodgers, and is already 31, making it highly unlikely any team commits to him for longer than around four years. Taylor also doesn’t have anything more than a solid power stroke, which isn’t fantastic for someone who strikes out in just over 28 percent of his plate appearances.
However, Taylor has never been a terrible defender at any position he’s played and still has managed a wRC+ of 113 or better in four of his last five seasons, never dipping below 106, and has been a 3.0 fWAR player or better in three of his last five seasons.
Taylor also has a knack for getting on base, walking at a 10.8 percent clip this season. He has had an OBP of .330 or better in every season since 2017, which would make him a perfect leadoff hitter on the North Side.
While many could be scared off by Taylor’s second half and his age, that shouldn’t be something that deters the Cubs. Taylor’s postseason and past few seasons as a whole are more indicative of the type of player he truly is. He may not be the most exciting or energizing signing possible, but Taylor would absolutely fit the mold of an “intelligent signing” that Jed Hoyer has preached about.