The Red Sox are among a handful of teams interested in free agent utility man Chris Taylor, according to MLB.com’s Juan Toribio.
Per Torobio, Taylor is drawing interest from the likes of the Sox, Cardinals, Rangers, Giants, Marlins, and others including the Dodgers, who originally acquired him from the Mariners in June 2016.
After spending the last six seasons with the Dodgers, Taylor is now officially a free agent in the wake of rejecting Los Angeles’ one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022 on Wednesday.
Taylor, 31, was a first-time All-Star in 2021. The versatile right-handed hitter batted .254/.344/.438 (113 wRC+) with 25 doubles, four triples, 20 home runs, 73 RBIs, 92 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 63 walks, and 167 strikeouts over 148 games and 582 plate appearances.
In those 148 games, Taylor made 46 appearances at second base, 11 at third base, 23 at shortstop, 30 in left field, 62 in center field, and eight in right field. For his career, the University of Virginia product’s best position has been left field (+13 defensive runs saved), though he saw the majority of his playing time come in center field (423 innings) this past season.
Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox have clearly placed an emphasis on versatile players who are capable of playing multiple positions.
Taylor obviously fits this mold, as does his former Dodgers teammate and current Sox utility man Enrique Hernandez. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Boston originally signed Hernandez last year to serve as their everyday second baseman, but he ultimately wound up taking over the day-to-day responsibilities in center field.
So, if the Red Sox were to pursue a starting outfielder such as Taylor, they would have the ability to move Hernandez back to the infield thanks to the flexibility of the 30-year-old.
Because the Dodgers extended a qualifying offer to Taylor, there is now draft pick compensation attached to the Virginia Beach native if another club were to sign him away from Los Angeles.
The Red Sox, for instance, would forfeit their second-highest unprotected pick in next year’s draft as well as $500,000 in international signing bonus pool space if they manage to sign a qualified free agent like Taylor. Boston did, however, gain a compensatory pick in the 2022 draft earlier this week when Eduardo Rodriguez signed a five-year deal with the Tigers.
After staying away from qualified free agents last off-season, Bloom and Co. have expressed an interest in pursuing those free agents with qualifying offers attached to them this time around.
With that being said, Taylor — a client of Meister Sports Management — is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to net himself a four-year, $64 million contract in free agency this season.
FanGraphs, on the other hand, projects that Taylor will land a four-year deal worth approximately $60 million. A steep price to pay for someone who turns 32 in August.
(Picture of Chris Taylor: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)