Nationals outfielder Michael A. Taylor has cleared waivers and elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Fresno, per a team announcement. The 29-year-old was arbitration-eligible this winter but stood as a clear non-tender candidate on the heels of a rough 2020 season. The decision to pass him through waivers effectively amounts to an early non-tender.
Taylor made $3.25MM with the Nationals in 2020 — about $1.17MM prorated — but scuffled to a .196/.253/.424 batting line in 99 plate appearances. It was the third straight below-average season at the plate for Taylor, who peaked with a .271/.320/.486 slash and 19 dingers back in 2017 but hasn’t produced since. The Nats sent Taylor to the minors for much of the 2019 season, but with a projected raise into the mid-$3MM range and a three-year slash line of .225/.284/.370, the club will instead move on.
While Taylor has struggled at the plate in recent years, he still has some pop in his bat and the ability to play any of three outfield spots well. Strikeouts have long been an issue and likely will continue to be, but Taylor has a .175 ISO (slugging minus batting average) since 2017 and boasts career marks of +23 Defensive Runs Saved and +10.6 Ultimate Zone Rating (4.8 UZR/150) in nearly 3300 center field innings.
Taylor’s exit could be part of broader-reaching changes in the Washington outfield. The Nats hold a $10.5MM club option over right fielder Adam Eaton, but that seems likely to be bought out after a career-worst year at the plate and a generally injury-interrupted Nationals tenure. The Nats took a look at Juan Soto in right field in the season’s final week — perhaps foreshadowing a changing of the guard in that aspect.
when was he designated?
It’s pretty common for players to be put on waivers without a formal DFA announcement — especially this time of year when the league wants minimal transaction activity so as not to take focus away from postseason play.
There was no public DFA announcement in this instance, just as there wasn’t in recent days when the Nats did this with Javy Guerra, Sam Freeman, Raudy Read and James Bourque.
fair enough. just figured Taylor would be notable enough to warrant the information getting out somehow.
MT in Baltimore
He is an overrated bum.
Forced to live in Baltimore. Yeah, the anger is understandable.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Ninja Cash is all over this. Hits around the Mendoza line like starting catcher Sánchez. Should fit right in.
Have to admit I’m shocked he was still arbitration eligible. Dude has been around forever.
Kind of illustrates the absurdity of MLB rights and contracts, doesn’t it? The next CBA is going to be messy.
Peart of the game
He’s a decent guy to have on your bench who is a AAAA outfielder/low end regular. Taylor could make more money in the NPB or KBO probably.
first thing that crossed my mind. Could see him going overseas and thriving
Agreed. Might lead him back to MLB just like Eric Thames.
Michael A. Taylor and Peter Bourjos are the same player. It’s pretty crazy how similar their careers have been. One solidly above average season early in their career when given the chance to be a fulltime starter. And then never able to recapture.
PB 2011 .271 .327 .438
MT 2017 271 320 486
PB career 237 .293 .376
MT career .237 .291 .395
Both with solid defense in center.
Wow that’s crazy! I wouldn’t have thought that at all.
That is some solid random baseball information and I applaud your efforts. Hat tip.
Ha, an Angels fan who lived in DC the last few years. Got to watch both players a lot.
PB was more than just solid in CF. Also a better base stealer but close.
actually MIchael A Taylor was a much better base stealer. In a lot less games (574 vs. 875) his SB/CS is 77/21 vs. PB 68/32.
I always thought PB would be a great base stealer because of his speed, but he had trouble getting reads.
Double hat tip. Well researched friend.
Interesting to me that BRef lists his top 3 comparable players as Marisnick, Travis Snider, and Gabe Gross. All three are former top round (3rd, 1st, 1st) picks by Toronto that never really worked out.
Stevenson probably gives you the same thing, maybe not as much pop. Younger and cheaper.
I don’t think Andrew Stevenson will swing at pitches out of the strike zone like he did. He also can bunt and walk a lot more. Much cheaper but I think much better.
Rangers should consider him a change of scenery option for left field or fourth outfielder position.
I thought the same thing.
Sign all the Cubans
Scrub player who earned his World Series ring.
Best of luck, Michael.
Totally agree. He did earn his ring. Was always better in the post season.
Your mom was a scrub player. Ha burn! Jk jk
Fond memories of his 2017 season and postseason run, but yeah it was time. I hope he catches on elsewhere and succeeds.
Taylor… yeah, never saw the hype. I was actually surprised he hung around a team that long who views theirselves as a contender, even though he was on the cheaper side
The least talked about player in baseball is going to free agency. Name a less popular player than Taylor. I’ll wait.