Recently the Washington Nationals and outfielder Michael A. Taylor went to arbitration. Taylor was asking for $3.5 million while Washington was only willing to give him $3.25 million. Arbitration is often ugly, and this time was no exception. The organization took its time explaining to the arbitrator why Taylor isn’t worth the $3.5 million. This bashes Taylor’sself-esteemm, which is is terrible for player/team relations. Washington won the hearing and Taylor will be paid $3.25 million in 2019. Due to this, now may be the time to trade Taylor and here’s why.
The outfield is loaded
Washington has a loaded outfield even if they don’t resign face of the franchise–Bryce Harper. The projected outfield has phenom Juan Soto in left, top prospect Victor Robles in center and veteran Adam Eaton in right. This makes Taylor the odd man out as he will be the first outfielder off the bench.
The outfield becomes even more crowded when Howie Kendrick returns from his Achilles injury. Often forgotten is Andrew Stevenson who plays above average defense and will be competing for playing time as well.
2018 was a down year
Taylor had a career year in 2017 when he hit .271 with 19 home runs, 53 RBIs and stole 17 bases. The team believed he finally arrived and this led to high expectations for him in 2018. Sadly he did not come close to meeting. Last season Taylor hit .227 with six home runs, 28 RBIs and stole 24 bases. While Taylor was a demon on the base path, his high strikeout rate was preventing him from applying consistent pressure. Taylor has a career strikeout percentage of 31.4 percent and had a .25 walk to strikeout percentage in 2018.
Last season Taylor started to find his stride at the plate, but was relegated to the bench when Adam Eaton returned from injury. To make matters worse, the team chose to keep Harper in the starting lineup despite the fact he was in the midst of a terrible slump. Relations with Taylor are at a low point and the arbitration hearing did not help.
A change of scenery?
Taylor still offers plenty of upside and could benefit from a change of scenery where he can be the everyday center fielder. He plays Gold Glove-caliber defense and has above average defense as he has 71 career stolen bases. In 885 career opportunities in centerfield, he has a .990 fielding percentage. He also has 22 outfield assists from centerfield and has helped turn four double plays. If Taylor can cut down his strikeouts and return to his 2017 form, teams would be getting a quality player. The saved money from Taylor can be spent on someone like Craig Kimbrel, the top closer on the free agent market. Trading Taylor would help the team win now and would prevent him from being stuck in the outfield logjam.
Feature Image From Forbes.
“From Our Haus to Yours”