The Los Angeles Dodgers and utility starter Chris Taylor are nearing an agreement on a new contract ahead of the Major League Baseball's looming lockout, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the deal is worth $60 million over four years with an option for a fifth season that would increase the total value to $73 million.
Taylor is the first notable free agent the Dodgers have retained this winter, having previously allowed Corey Seager (Texas Rangers), Max Scherzer (New York Mets) and Corey Knebel (Philadelphia Phillies) to depart to greener pastures. Taylor, 31 years old, entered the winter ranked by CBS Sports as the 12th best free agent available:
Perhaps this is an overzealous ranking, but in our estimation there's a perfect syzygy in place for Taylor to get paid. He has his own track record of being an above-average hitter; he has a ton of positional versatility (at a time when teams are obsessing over such a thing); and he can draft off the success Enrique Hernández had last season in Boston. Taylor is a fit in virtually every team's lineup, and so there's even a chance for a few contenders to get into a bidding war in an effort to lure him away from Los Angeles. Again, this could prove to be a wee too high a ranking for him; we'll take our chances, though.
Taylor originally joined the Dodgers during the 2016 season as part of a then-small trade with the Seattle Mariners that swapped him and pitcher Zach Lee. It wasn't until the following season that he emerged as a pivotal piece of the Dodgers roster. In five full seasons with Los Angeles, he batted .265/.343/.461 (114 OPS+) with 78 home runs. All together, his play as a Dodger has been estimated to be worth nearly 15 Wins Above Replacement, per the calculations of Baseball Reference.