Michael A. Taylor went through various layers of baseball life with the Nationals. He was a touted prospect. He appeared to put together a breakout season in 2017. He could never find a way to be a more consistent hitter.
Now, Taylor is onto the open market. He cleared outright waivers and has elected free agency. His time in Washington is done.
Taylor, 29, leaves as a top-tier defender and with ongoing contact issues at the plate. He is one of the best defensive outfielders in the sport. He’s also a .237 career hitter with a .291 on-base percentage.
Playing under Dusty Baker led to Taylor’s best season in 2017. He finished with an .806 OPS despite 137 strikeouts and just 29 walks. It was a 2.8 bWAR season for him in only 432 at-bats. His production continued in the postseason when he delivered a 1.178 OPS in the five-game series against the Cubs. Overall, Taylor played 16 postseason games, which led to four home runs and a 1.027 OPS. He was 1-for-1 with a solo home run in the 2019 World Series.
Taylor leaves the organization 11 years after being a sixth-round pick in 2009 out of Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Taylor leaving likely means Andrew Stevenson will be the team’s fourth outfielder in 2021.
His departure also drops the Nationals’ 40-man roster to 33. More removals are to come.
Eric Thames, Adam Eaton and Aníbal Sánchez are unlikely to have their contract options picked up. Sean Doolittle, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Kurt Suzuki, Josh Harrison and Brock Holt all will become free agents. Those moves can reduce the 40-man roster all the way to 25.
Three automatic additions will be made when Stephen Strasburg, Starlin Castro and Seth Romero are added back after being removed from the 60-day injured list.
But, overall, the Nationals are in the midst of a major overhaul of their 40-man roster.