Michael A. Taylor put up a .211/.277/.276 line with five doubles, seven walks, and 32 Ks in 43 games (16 starts) and 85 plate appearances between April and June last season, before the 28-year-old outfielder was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg. Taylor stayed with the Nationals’ minor league affiliate until September, then returned to the majors, going 6 for 12 with two doubles in 10 games over the final month of the regular season.
Davey Martinez turned to Taylor in center field early during Washington’s run to the World Series championship in October, telling reporters he was comfortable that he didn’t lose much with Victor Robles injured during the NLDS matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“For me with Michael you really don’t lose anything in center field,” Martinez said, “and he’s had a really good September, so hopefully he continues to swing the bat the way he’s been swinging it and [goes] out there and [plays] good defense.”
“Since he’s come back up, he understands his role, he’s been really good at it and, yeah, I’ve said this all along, we don’t miss anything on defense with Michael out there,” Martinez told reporters during the NLCS, “and he’s putting together some huge at-bats for us. So it’s kind of nice to see him producing and helping us win.”
Taylor started five consecutive games between the Division and Championship Series, and went 6 for 20 with a home run over that stretch, with the Nationals 4-1 in those games, and he homered in his one at bat in the Fall Classic.
Taylor earned $3.25M in 2019, after losing in arbitration (he’d asked for $3.5M), and the six-year veteran was eligible again this winter, but the 2009 6th Round pick and the Nationals avoided arbitration this time around.
According to a press release from the Nationals last night, Taylor and the team agreed on a one-year deal which subsequent reports said will pay the outfielder $3.325M in 2020 with a possibility of adding, “... $25,000 if he gets at least 300 big league plate appearances this season,” according to a report by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
Taylor’s deal leaves the Nationals with three arbitration-eligible players unsigned with today the deadline for both sides to submit their salary numbers for 2020 contracts.
Trea Turner avoided arbitration last winter when he and the Nats agreed on a 1 year/$3.725M deal. MLBTraderumors.com projected a raise to around $7.5M in 2020 for the shortstop.
Joe Ross signed a 1-year/$1M deal last winter, avoiding arbitration, and MLBTR is projecting he’ll earn $1.4M this season.
Roenis Elías remains unsigned as well, with the left-handed reliever, who earned $910,000 last season, projected to get $1.9M in what will be his seventh major league season.
The team and the players can continue to try to work out deals for the upcoming campaign, or, if not, go to an arbitration panels in February, but they must submit their salary requests today if they don’t work something out before the deadline.