Braves Way Too Early Free Agent Targets: Chris Taylor

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Even as exciting as this season has turned out to be, the Atlanta Braves have room for improvement in 2022

Some areas come to mind immediately — a bullpen arm or two and certainty in the outfield for starters.

However, one area that would take the Braves to the next level offensively is the super-utility player they have lacked since they traded Omar Infante for Dan Uggla in 2010.

The Atlanta Braves have tried and ultimately failed at finding a super-utility player as of late. They gave Johan Camargo a shot when they brought in Josh Donaldson, which flopped as Camargo didn’t live up to his very good 2018 (3.2 WAR), finishing with a very underwhelming .233/.279/.384 and 65 OPS+ during 43 games in 2019. His numbers were even worse in 2020.

The Braves tried again this season in the form Ehire Adrianza. To be fair, he was never supposed to be the answer, but he has been below average as well, slashing .242/.329/.396, which equates to an OPS+ of 88 in 86 games.

Can the Atlanta Braves finally find the super-utility they need?

It just so happens that arguably the best super-utility player since Ben Zobrist will be available as a free agent this coming off-season.

Super-utility is synonymous with ChrisTaylor; since 2017, he has accumulated 12.2 bWAR, playing all over the diamond for the Dodgers. Other than 2019 and a shortened 2020, he is on pace to record at least 4.0 WAR in every other season since the start of 2017.

Just like acquiring multiple outfielders this past trade deadline added much-needed depth, Taylor would not only add value with his overall game but would allow Brian Snitker to play platoon advantages and give players much-needed rest days without a drop-off in performance.

Chris Taylor can play all over the diamond

Taylor has played all over the diamond and has been, at the very least, serviceable at every position:

  • 1 inning at 2B with a 2 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS)
  • 165 innings at 3B with -2 DRS
  • 1 inning at SS with -4 DRS
  • 2 innings at LF with 12 DRS
  • 1217 innings at CF with -3 DRS
  • 1 inning at RF with 1 DRS

As you can see, left field is where he is the most valuable defensively, but he can fill in almost anywhere. It should also be noted that at shortstop, -8 DRS alone were in one year, so he could potentially be more serviceable there than his -4 DRS shows.

As of late, Chris Taylor has been fantastic with the bat. In 2021, he owns a slash-line of .278/.369/.476, equating to a 129 OPS+.

As with most signings, it all depends on the contract

If the Braves front office and Chris Taylor can come to terms on the right contract and convince him to move out east, adding him would go a long way in stabilizing the Braves lineup for a 2022 World Series run

 

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