An MLB Network analyst eyes this former Dodger to replace Andrew McCutchen.
When the Philadelphia Phillies declined the $15 million team option for fan-favorite outfielder Andrew McCutchen earlier this month — making him a free-agent — the left field position immediately became one of the biggest areas the organization has to address this offseason.
While the 35-year-old veteran slashed just .222/.334/.444 this past season, McCutchen still was one of the most productive Phillies batters — collecting 78 runs scored, 27 home runs, and 80 RBI across 574 plate appearances.
The Phillies will need to be creative in finding McCutchen’s replacement to make up for this currently lost production. Two-time World Series champion infielder and now-MLB Network analyst, Mike Lowell, has a prediction on who that just be.
When recently asked to guess who would become the next big-name free-agent to sign, Lowell predicted long-time former Los Angeles Dodgers standout Chris Taylor — to the Phillies.
“We don’t know what will happen with Andrew McCutchen [or] Didi Gregorius,” said Lowell, adding that Taylor “checks a lot of boxes” for a team like the Phillies who want “athleticism, energy, and versatility.”
Chris Taylor has the versatility and veteran experience the Phillies need
As Lowell alludes, Taylor would not only bolster the Phillies left field position, but he would also make an impact in the infield — where the team has not necessarily produced Gold Glove-caliber talent in recent seasons. The eight-year veteran has played all three outfield positions, as well as shortstop, second base, and third base during his time spent with the Dodgers and Seattle Mariners, the latter team in which drafted him in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Virginia.
Taylor is a career .261 hitter, but his best season came in 2017, in which he slashed .288/.354/.496 in the regular season — before being named that year’s NLCS MVP after a strong showing against the Chicago Cubs. The 31-year-old and 2020 World Series champion earned his first All-Star nod this past season and set a career-high in RBI (73), all the while logging 25 doubles and 20 home runs spanning 148 games. Taylor slugged three home runs and nine RBI in this year’s NLCS, only for his team to lose to the eventual-champion Atlanta Braves.
The Dodgers’ versatile vet would certainly be an intriguing free-agent signing, however, it would not draw as nearly much interest among Phillies fans as would a Nick Castellanos and/or Kyle Schwarber deal. Plus, Taylor declined his $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers on Monday, meaning the Phillies would have to give up a draft pick if they sign him.
The offseason has only just begun for Dave Dombrowski and company.