Chicago Cubs: Chris Taylor could bring a Ben Zobrist-like vibe
If you ask the big box retailers across the country, the holiday season is upon us. But it’s not sugar plums dancing in the heads of Chicago Cubs fans. Instead, it’s dreams of Carlos Correa or Corey Seager anchoring the lineup for much of the next decade.
But that may wind up being just that: a dream. Jed Hoyer got things started already with the waiver claim of veteran lefty Wade Miley and that was a solid start. Now it’s time to build off that and focus on a quietly excellent performer in Chris Taylor.
Taylor is 31 and has spent eight seasons in the league, the first three with Seattle and next five with the Dodgers. He’s a super-utility player and can play outfield, second base, shortstop and third. Through his eight seasons, he’s batted .261 with an on-base-percentage of .344 and OPS of .782.
He’s coming off a season in which he made his first All-Star appearance, posted a 2.7 WAR and batted .476 in the NLCS. Taylor has the talent, versatility and postseason experience to be an ideal fit.
The best part about Taylor is that he would bring a Ben Zobrist-like energy (and skillset) to the clubhouse. Not only that but their numbers are eerily similar. Zobrist batted .266 with a .357 on-base and .783 OPS. It’s virtually the same production and defensive versatility – not to mention Zobrist’s World Series MVP in 2016 showcased the clutch gene that we saw from Taylor in this year’s NLCS.
Chicago Cubs: Chris Taylor is a more budget-conscious target than the stars
The similarities to the fan favorite Zobrist are evident – and Taylor, unlike Correa and Seager, isn’t likely to break the bank, either. His market value is around $11 million – similar to the likes of Kolten Wong and Jonathan Schoop. We know the Cubs have money to spend and this move would bring in value and leave Hoyer plenty of funds to address other needs.
The one downside to Taylor is the strikeouts. He led the league with 178 strikeouts in 2018 and had 167 in 2021. The Cubs have been one of the most strikeout-prone teams in previous years and Hoyer wants to bring in a new type of player; one that hits for contact and gets on base.
Strikeouts aside, Taylor would be an excellent fit. We know the Cubs want to make a splash at shortstop this offseason, so to have Taylor mixed in with Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal at second along with Ian Happ in center, he could be the perfect utility piece to fill out this roster.
Hoyer has a long but exciting winter ahead of him and it’s complimentary moves like this that will make all the difference. Reliability is something the Cubs need on their roster and Taylor would bring that and more. He’s been around a championship team and has postseason experience that doesn’t show up from a quick glance at his numbers.