Wednesday, December 1, 2021

White Sox Free Agent Focus: Chris Taylor


The White Sox needs to make some upgrades this offseason. The biggest holes in the lineup are at second base and right field. It just so happens that there is a player on the market that can do both. Chris Taylor’s contract is up with the Dodgers and, he is set to hit free agency. The baseball world saw the impact that Taylor made during the Dodgers postseason run. He would be a perfect fit in the Southsiders lineup.

Taylor has a career average of .261 with a .344 OBP. His best season came in 2017 when he hit 21 home runs and hit a career-high .288. Taylor also provides the element of speed. Taylor ranked 6th in the National League with an 80.95 stolen base percentage in 2017. He swiped 13 bags last season. He can play a multitude of positions including all three outfield spots, shortstop, second base, and third base. In 2021 he played 61 games in center field, 46 at second base, 30 in left field, 23 at shortstop, 11 at third base, and eight in right field.

Taylor’s best asset is his versatility. Last season Tony La Russa raved about everything that Leury Garcia did for the Chicago White Sox. He had good reason too. The longest-tenured member of the White Sox served as a Swiss Amry Knife, playing multiple positions and putting together an effective offensive season. Garica is a free agent this offseason. Taylor represents a significant upgrade over Garcia. He gives the flexibility for La Russa to play him across the diamond or he could represent a permanent solution at second base or right field. He made his first All-Star team this season and is a better defensive outfielder than Garcia. He also provides a bigger threat at the bottom of the lineup. Taylor hit .254 this season with 20 home runs 73 RBIs and 63 walks.

More importantly, he rises to the occasion in the postseason. In 2017 he was awarded NLCS MVP. Last month Taylor hit a walk-off home run in the NL Wild Card game then hit three homers in game 5 of the NL Championship Series. His postseason experience makes him an attractive addition for a White Sox front office that values battle-tested veterans. One of the reasons Rick Hahn added Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel was because of their previous experience playing in October. During his tenure with the Dodgers, Taylor has accumulated 62 career postseason games which include three trips to the World Series and a ring.

So what would the White Sox have to pay for him?’s Anthony Castrovince ranked him at No. 22 in his free-agent rankings. At the age of 31, Taylor should receive a multi-year contract of around $14 million dollars. Ben Zobrist, who had a similar skill set to Taylor signed with the Cubs for four years and $56 million. Taylor is three years younger and could even receive a slightly higher number.

Other comparisons are Didi Gregorius who signed a two-year deal worth $28 million. Gregorius is the same age as Taylor when he inked the deal and his offensive numbers were slightly worse. The Dodgers have relied heavily on Taylor the past couple of seasons. So there is a good chance they make a competitive bid to resign him.

If the price is right Rick Hahn should jump at the chance to bring him to Chicago.

Mitchell Kaminski
Mitchell studies sports communications at Bradley University and works for Braves Vision, an organization that works alongside ESPN broadcasting games and covering Bradley sports. Creator of Dorm Room Dispute podcast.

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