Dusty Baker talked this past weekend about what an important Spring it is for Michael A. Taylor, telling reporters, including MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, that Washington’s soon-to-turn-26-year-old outfielder needs to earn his way back into the mix among the Nats’ outfield corps.
Taylor struggled playing on an everyday basis early while Ben Revere was injured early last season, and bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors all summer, posting a .231/.278/.376 line, 11 doubles and seven home runs in 76 games and 237 plate appearances on the year.
“Last spring, everybody was asking how I was going to get Michael Taylor 300 at-bats,” Baker said.
“And then Ben got hurt the first day of the season. We didn’t even know [Brian Goodwin]. There were other guys we didn’t know that came on strong. Michael’s got to play his way back into the upper echelon ranks of our outfielders.”
While Taylor has a shot at claiming a spot on the Nationals’ bench this Spring, that task could become more difficult if the Nats add a veteran outfielder to the mix.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, citing information from “major-league sources”, wrote this morning that the Nats, “... are among the teams interested in signing free-agent outfielder Angel Pagan to a minor-league deal.”
Pagan, 35 and coming off a .277/.331/.418, 24 double, five triple, 12 home run, 2.1 fWAR run in San Francisco in his fifth season with the Giants and his 11th major league campaign overall, “... drew earlier interest from the Blue Jays and Royals, but lost potential opportunities when those teams signed Jose Bautista and Brandon Moss, respectively,” according to Rosenthal’s sources.
“With the Nats, Pagan could back up Adam Eaton in center field, enabling Michael Taylor to open the season in Triple A.
Pagan moved to left last season when the Giants signed Denard Span, but is more experienced in center than Chris Heisey, whom the Nats re-signed for one year, $1.4 million.”
Pagan earned $10M in 2016 in the fourth year of the 4-year/$40M deal he signed with the Giants in 2012.
Jayson Werth, Eaton, Bryce Harper, Heisey and Pagan? Does that look like an improved Opening Day outfield mix to you?