The versatile Chris Taylor declined the Los Angeles Dodgers' qualifying offer of $18.4 million on Monday, making him a free agent -- one the Chicago Cubs should consider signing.
I've been a fan of Taylor from afar. Adding him to the mix on the North Side would give the Cubs exactly the type of player they need if they plan on competing for postseason baseball in 2022.
Ben Zobrist 2.0
Taylor reportedly will seek a multi-year contract, to no surprise. MLB Trade Rumors projects Taylor to get a four-year deal worth $64 million. That resembles the contract of former Cubs' utility man Ben Zobrist, who received a four-year deal worth $56 million from the Cubs in the winter of 2015.
Zobrist played mostly second base and corner outfield for the Cubs during his tenure. Taylor has played all three outfield spots and every infield position outside of first base, catcher, and pitcher throughout his career.
Taylor, 31, is coming off one of his best seasons. He finished the 2021 season with a 3.1 fWAR, his highest since 2017 when he accumulated 4.8 fWAR. For the Dodgers last season, Taylor hit .254, got on-base at a .344 clip, and slugged .438.
In 2016, the Cubs thrived thanks to depth, an elite offense, and defensive versatility. Taylor would bring all three of those assets to the Cubs, giving David Ross multiple options on a day-in, day-out basis.
While Taylor touts a career 27.5 strikeout percentage, he does walk at a 9.3 percent clip. His approach is the exact opposite of Javier Baez.
In terms of weighted runs created, Taylor was 13 percent above the average hitter in 2021 and is 11 percent above the average hitter for his career.
Perhaps most importantly, Taylor is a player who shows up in October.
Throughout his career, Taylor has a .842 OPS and a 128 wRC+ in the postseason. He brings 62 games of playoff experience to any club that chooses to sign him.
If the Cubs do indeed sign Chris Taylor, the Dodgers would receive the North Siders' second-highest compensatory draft pick and Chicago's international signing bonus pool would be reduced by $500K. However, because the Dodgers went over the luxury tax threshold, the earliest pick Los Angeles could recoup would come in the fourth round.