Taylor Will Play a Crucial Role in the 2021 Dodgers

Thursday, February 25, 2021
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021

With Kiké Hernández leaving as a free agent for the Boston Red Sox, Chris Taylor has become more important to the Los Angeles Dodgers than ever.

When the Dodgers acquired Taylor from the Seattle Mariners in June 2016 for pitcher Zach Lee who is out of baseball, most people ignored Taylor’s trade. In his Dodger debut, he narrowly missed hitting for a cycle. He spent most of the 2016 season and the beginning of the 2017 season at Triple-A in Oklahoma City.

During the 2017 season, Taylor became the mainstay in the Dodger lineup. He played second base, shortstop, left field, and center field, and he contributed to the Dodger offense with a .254 batting average, 21 home runs, and 72 RBI. During the 2017 NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, Taylor earned a co-MVP with his teammate Justin Turner.

Since then, Taylor has played a key player in the Dodger success. When Corey Seager missed the almost entire 2018 season with Tommy John and hip surgeries, Taylor played shortstop for 81 games.

This spring manager Dave Roberts plans to use Taylor at third base. The Dodgers have a left-handed dominant lineup that may be susceptible to left-handed pitching. Roberts is scrambling to find viable right-handed batters. Taylor is a righty with power. Moreover, Justin Turner, 36, with a history of hamstring problems will need frequent rest.

While Max Muncy, Edwin Rìos, and Matt Beaty can play third base, they are left-handed. None are good defensive third basemen. Taylor’s quickness and strong accurate throwing arm should improve the defense at third base.

If Cody Bellinger cannot begin the 2021 season because of offseason arthroscopic shoulder surgery, Taylor probably will play in center field at Coors Field in Denver. Bellinger is ahead of schedule.

Every successful baseball team needs a great utility fielder. In recent years, the Dodgers have had two utility fielders with Taylor and Hernández and Taylor, which was a key to the Dodger’s success. Now, the Dodgers hope either Zack McKinstry or Sheldon Neuse will become their second utility fielder. As a veteran utility fielder, Taylor will be crucial to Dodger’s success in 2021.

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