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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Michael A. Taylor, Kansas City Royals reach 2-year, $9M extension, sources say

Center fielder Michael A. Taylor and the Royals are in agreement on a two-year, $9 million contract extension, sources told ESPN on Wednesday, keeping the elite defensive center fielder in Kansas City as the team’s rebuild nears its next phase.

Taylor, 30, signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal with Kansas City over the winter after being outrighted by the Washington Nationals, with whom he had spent his entire major league career. While Taylor remained an enigmatic offensive performer with the Royals, he placed himself firmly in the discussion for best defensive center fielders—and best defensive player period—in baseball.

Publicly available defensive metrics often disagree on players’ defensive contributions. Not Taylor. He is the top-ranked outfielder in Outs Above Average, Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, the three metrics commonly used to measure defensive performance. Taylor’s UZR is the best of any player regardless of position and his DRS is second.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2021 at 06:00 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: michael a. taylor, royals

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   1. Zach Posted: September 29, 2021 at 08:15 PM (#6042450)
Probably a fair deal.

Bat is suspect, glove is good, salary could still work if he has to shift to a backup role.

The Royals have a lot of quality prospects right now, but there's no center fielder in the wings.
   2. Zach Posted: September 29, 2021 at 08:18 PM (#6042452)
The Royals are going to have a roster crunch at Rule 5 time this year. It might make some sense to trade for a quality center fielder.

I don't mind Taylor, but I hate to commit a lot of playing time to an 80 OPS+ bat.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 29, 2021 at 09:29 PM (#6042463)

I don't mind Taylor, but I hate to commit a lot of playing time to an 80 OPS+ bat.

This was my initial reaction, but it looks like none of the Royals top-50 prospects are OF in the high minors. I guess it makes sense to help out the young pitchers.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: September 29, 2021 at 09:50 PM (#6042468)
For 2021, Taylor is 11th in WAR among CFs (75%) with 2.7, nearly all of it on defense. Obviously he's not likely to repeat that even if we believe Rfield but he's been about average for his career despite lousy 2019-20 "years." The similar but better-hitting Kiermaier is probably available in trade but he'll cost 2/$25. None of the ones that can actually hit a bit are available really -- except Marte the FA who will cost a lot more and the other Marte who is terrible defensively and Buxton who can't stay on the field. (Or the suspended Laureano or the troublesome Odubel). There's just not much out there at the moment -- Brett Gardner with his 1.0 WAR is the 20th best CF this year. It may be sad or shocking, but I'm not sure there are even 15 CFs right now you'd rather have than Taylor.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2021 at 10:07 PM (#6042472)
I like Kyle Isbel and I think he can handle CF, but I don't mind him splitting time with Taylor out there. 2/$9M for Taylor seems fine - as Walt points out the FA market is awful - but if they commit 1,000 PA over the next two years to him, that will be the problem. He probably needs to start transitioning to a fourth OF role, they really don't have the kind of offense to support his putrid bat.

   6. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: September 30, 2021 at 10:28 PM (#6042711)
I heard Mike Matheny interviewed last week on one of the XM MLB shows. He was responding to questions raving about 'breakout' Royals like Nicky Lopez (a genuine surprise!) and Kris Bubic who had thrown a nice game the night before. He was asked about Taylor and just raved about him - mostly about his hitting. Apparently, Taylor had also had a nice game the night before, but Matheny went on and on about how all his hard work had paid off and he had finally learned to become a good hitter.
I don't pay THAT much attention to the Royals so I thought maybe I had missed something. I looked him up.
His 8 year OPS+ is 79, in 7 of the years he's been between 69 and 79 (the other was his 2017 104).
This year? 77.

Which is to say everyone knows the Royals seem to value different attributes than the rest of the baseball. But this makes me think that they really think that they really think they are locking up a good offensive player.

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