Chris Taylor is something of a last man standing when it comes to long-time role players for the Dodgers. After Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez jumped ship for more playing time this offseason, CT3’s versatility becomes amplified in 2021.
While Taylor has played around the diamond in his Dodger career, chances are high that he may need to dust off a seldom-used glove this coming season. On Wednesday, Dave Roberts noted that along with the usual spot-starting up the middle and in left field, the utility man may need to get a bit more comfortable at third base this spring.
I see Chris at second base, I see him a little bit at shortstop — we know he can play short. I see him centerfield a little bit, I see him left field, and I also see him at third base.
Over his career, Taylor has started at every position on the field except first base. Known as a premium defender all around the diamond, there has always seemed to be a bit of hesitancy to play him at third. In fact, the 30-year-old has only 25 appearances (9 starts, 6 complete games) at the hot corner over his 7 big league seasons.
So why suddenly change course? Doc explains.
Right now you’re looking at the roster with Justin [Turner] and two left-handed bats in Eddie Rios and Matt Beaty, but I also like Chris taking grounders over there and getting familiar more with third base too.
Rios leveled up his defensive profile last season, seeing bulk innings at 3B while Justin Turner missed time with various leg ailments. But with the roster so loaded on left-handed swingers now, it makes sense to expand on the right-handed batting Taylor’s opportunities to get in the lineup.
Notably, Roberts has had plans similar to this before. Last spring, Matt Beaty was the guy that was expected to see more time at third. However, after the shutdown and into summer camp, Rios had seemingly passed him on the depth chart.
With reduced rosters this Cactus League season — mainly no minor league backfields to pull any number of players off of — plenty of at-bats and opportunities will be had to figure out the pecking order at the hot corner.