The Dodgers and Mariners announced a trade that will send infielder Chris Taylor to Los Angeles in exchange for righty Zach Lee.
Taylor, 25, has appeared in just three games at the MLB level this season but played in 84 games for the Mariners in 2014-15, hitting .239/.296/.296 over 253 plate appearances. Taylor received quite a bit of playing time at shortstop due to Brad Miller’s struggles and injuries, though obviously he didn’t enough himself to gain a roster foothold before Ketel Marte took over the position. A fifth-rounder in the 2012 draft, Taylor swung a powerful bat in the minors, hitting .314/.401/.455 over 1856 PA in the Seattle farm system.
The vast majority of Taylor’s Major League experience has come at short, though he has seen a significant amount of time at second in the minors, as well as a handful of games at third. He can provide the Dodgers with some versatile infield depth at either the major or minor league level, though the team already has Enrique Hernandez and Howie Kendrick as multi-position assets on the roster. Given Taylor’s impressive minor league numbers, it’s not out of the question that he could unlock some of that hitting prowess in the bigs.
Lee was a staple of top-100 prospect rankings after the Dodgers picked him 28th overall in the 2010 draft, agreeing to a $5.25MM bonus to choose baseball over playing football at LSU. Over the years, Lee has often been mentioned as potential trade chip L.A. could use in many possible deals for big-name players, though his prospect stock dimmed after a rough 2014 season at Triple-A Albuquerque (in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League). He rebounded with a good 2015 that saw him cut down on his homers and walks, though the long ball problems returned with a force this year. Lee posted a 4.89 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 3.8 K/BB in 73 2/3 Triple-A innings with 11 homers allowed.
The 2016 Baseball America Prospect Handbook dropped Lee to 15th in their ranking of the Dodgers’ top 30 prospects prior to this season, describing his stuff as “fringy to average across the board” and describing him as a potential back-end starter. The Mariners are optioning Lee to Triple-A, though he could get to the bigs since Seattle is struggling with a number of injuries in both the rotation and bullpen. Given how Taylor was an expendable piece for the M’s, Lee is a pretty good return for Seattle if he emerges as a post-hype prospect.
Seriously…why? Another infielder for one of their better prospects? Dodgers please explain why?
Lee wasn’t one of their better prospects. Not anymore. He has fringy stuff and was getting shelled in his third AAA season. He’s been passed on the Oklahoma City depth chart by:
Jose De Leon
Ross Stripling (when he returns from the DL)
All of those guys have more upside. It was time to move on and they got some organizational depth at SS with a chance to contribute to the MLB bench.
Could be getting him to help fill behind some other pieces being packaged up in a trade for some pitching.
I feel completely different about this trade. I think it was a great get for the Dodgers. Taylor is a good defensive SS that has hit everywhere throughout his MiLB career and has even had some limited success in MLB. He has only had half a season worth of MLB experience and has been worth about 1 WAR, which is an average player. Lee has never lived up to his hype and is now struggling for the second time in 3 AAA seasons. At best he is a 5th SP and more likely just a long reliever. Great trade by the Dodgers to get a starting caliber SS for him.
Hmm. Two pieces that could use a change of scenery.
outside of Kershaw, Ethier, Joc and Kenley, no one else is left from the McCourt era Dodgers
Wish Lee well. Hopefully he can get his velocity back.
AJ Elllis, Scott Van Slyke, Pedro Baez, Carlos Frias
Looking at this the Dodger 2011 draft was absolutely terrible. I wonder how much the McCourt sale influenced that.
Don’t be ridiculous. Heyward or Almora can play CF. I would put Almora in CF and Heyward in RF on most days. That leaves any combination of Baez – Bryant – Szczur – Coghlan — Zobrist that can play LF. and any combo of Bryant – Baez – Coghlan – Zobrist that can play 3B and any combination of Baez – Coghlan – Zobrist that can play 2B. It barely leaves a dent in their depth.
An at least slightly puzzling trade, it would be interesting to know which side initiated it. Neither player would seem to offer much to their respective teams.
Exactly. We don’t need infield depth. Or anymore depth at any position for that matter. A prospect arm has a lot more value than an infield depth piece. Questions what the FO is doing. Hold Lee for a piece to throw in on major acquisition at the deadline for an everyday impact player. What they have been doing lately is beyond questionable.
You really think Lee could’ve been the final piece to a “major acquisition”? At this point in his career, he’d be nothing more than a throw-in with minimal value. I’m sure the Dodgers have plenty of other arms that could fill that role in a major acquisition.
Not sure what is meant by a “final piece” but I think we all know that mid-level prospects are frequently dealt in package deals.
Lee isn’t a final piece to anything…
Look it’s this simple 40 man is full. and that’s without adding DeLeon who isn’t too far off. Lee was going to get DFAd regardless so he wasn’t going to be added into much of any package. He fell so far behind on the depth chart it’s not really questionable. People keep holding onto he fact that he was touted early and kept prospect allure by name sake only. He was going to stick in the rotation or org so give him a chance elsewhere.
In this day and age with runs at a premium #5 pitchers aren’t worth as much as offense. That’s not saying Taylor holds much of any value. But the Dodgers being devoid of inf depth esp ss( Culberson is your only option close) a util/AAAA guy is fine. Your mif options SS: Culberson/Taylor, 2B: Johnson. Calhoun is a little off and his development is what will dictate his position.
This isn’t an MLB move. OK City doesn’t have a SS.
They’ve got Culbertson, Herrera and Hicks to play SS in OKC. The reality might be that management doesn’t currently see any of them as promotable if they lose either Seager or Hernandez to injury. Not sure Taylor punches his weight any better than any of those other options though.
The D0dgers’ site has Culbertson listed as a 3rd baseman and Hicks as a 2nd baseman. Herrera isn’t on their roster today at Milb.com. Herrera is listed as “releasaed”. http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=467070#/career/R/hitting/2016/ALL with his .545 OPS.
You are correct, Herrera was released last month. The other two are playing infield including SS.
Herrera was released to play in Japan. Hicks can’t hit and isn’t on the 40 man. Culberson and Taylor if an injury were to occur up the middle are now the fill in just in case pieces. Who knows what a change of scenary can provide.
Yes, as I said…
Anyway not a big believer in changes of scenery (it’s more about getting regular playing time) but I can see how Taylor will provide the Dodgers with a cushion at that position.
Dodgers needed depth at shortstop, Mariners are having some trouble with pitching depth.
After all those Zach Lee rumors throughout the years and now this is who he was traded for. Looks like the Dodgers should have pulled the trigger much earlier on trading him. I still think he can end up becoming a solid ML pitcher.
I was thinking the same thing. I don’t claim to be an expert on other teams’ prospects, but he always used to be the blue-chip prospect that would be the big piece in a trade for a top-level free agent.
What’s that saying about hindsight again?
It’s 20-20. Sorry, beat you to it. 😉
I completely agree, rythestunner
So hindsight is still 20-20? I can understand why they stuck by Lee for as long as they did, given his performance in the minors. It did show promise, here and there. But on the Dodgers he fell so far down the depth chart he wasn’t going anywhere. Does he get a chance in Seattle?
Dodgers had teams trying to pry him away and asking for him in trades that would’ve netted them really good players and they refused to give him up and this what they end up getting for him now lol. Oh well. Wish you well, Lee! Hope a change of scenery does these guys good.
Sometimes a prospect trade is not actually a bad idea.
Good luck, Zach. Just never quite put it together and developed those pitches enough to break though.
I hope he can find an out pitch or an uptick in velocity, kid isn’t terrible.
Maybe Mariners Trade Lee in a package.
Maybe the Mariners can trade Lee for Justin Smoak?
Smoak isn’t coming back
Unfortunately, the joke in it did ring through as I would’ve liked…
The M’s are depleted at the AAA level for starting pitching with Felix and Miley on the DL. This is an AAA depth move for both clubs. The Dodgers of OK City don’t have a true SS on the roster and the M’s need AAA starting pitching.
Is it too idealistic to think the Dodgers are trying to give Lee his shot? At this point he’d never break in to the Dodger rotation, and obviously we’re way past the days when Lee could headline a David Price type trade. So why not cut him loose and give him a chance somewhere else? I like to think teams still think this way from time to time.
In any case, it may be that Lee gives football a try again soon. RHPs with 87 mph fastballs don’t usually last too long these days. What ever happened to his velocity?
Still seems like not a good trade for LA
Funny how different a trade can look one year later.
What a steal for the Dodgers, goes to show it’s not all about having a lot of cash, but rather knowing what you’re doing