The Nationals won their arbitration case against outfielder Michael A. Taylor reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). He’ll earn the $3.25MM figure that the team submitted rather than the $3.5MM figure at which he filed. Taylor was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and will be eligible once more next offseason before reaching free agent in the 2020-21 offseason.
Taylor, 28 in March, will receive a $725K raise over last year’s $2.525MM salary on the heels of a down season in which he hit just .227/.287/.357 with six homers, 22 doubles and three triples in 385 plate appearances. That marked a noted drop-off from his solid 2017 output: a .271/.20/.486 slash with 19 home runs, 23 doubles and three triples.
At present, Taylor will have an expanded role with the Nationals early in the 2019 campaign. The potential departure of Bryce Harper could put Taylor in line for increased at-bats alongside fellow outfielders Juan Soto and Adam Eaton, though the looming presence of top prospect Victor Robles casts a shadow over Taylor’s playing time. Whether it’s Opening Day or later in the upcoming season, Robles will get a shot at cementing himself as Washington’s everyday center fielder, at which point Taylor will again revert to a more limited role. And, of course, if the Nationals do bring Harper back to the organization, playing time will be all the more difficult to come by for Taylor.
As always, you can keep up to date with this year’s ongoing arbitration hearings and settlements in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker. With Taylor, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Joe Ross and Sammy Solis out of the way, Washington’s lone remaining unsettled case is that of reliever Kyle Barraclough.