Dodgers bring back Chris Taylor on $60 million deal after losing Corey Seager, Max Scherzer

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  • Los Angeles Dodgers
    Los Angeles Dodgers
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  • Chris Taylor
    Chris Taylor
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  • Corey Seager
    Corey Seager
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  • Max Scherzer
    Max Scherzer
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Corey Knebel
    Corey Knebel
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Kenley Jansen
    Kenley Jansen
    Dutch baseball player

It won't be a total free agent exodus for the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter.

The Dodgers signed Chris Taylor to a four-year contract that will keep the super-utility man in Los Angeles, the team announced Wednesday. Per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the deal is worth $60 million with a fifth-year option for $13 million.

The deal comes two days after the Dodgers watched their two biggest free agents of the offseason, Corey Seager and Max Scherzer, sign elsewhere. Seager landed a 10-year, $325 million contract with the Texas Rangers after seven strong years in L.A., while Scherzer signed with the New York Mets on a three-year, $130 million deal that set an MLB record for average annual value.

Alongside starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw and closer Kenley Jansen, Taylor was one of the biggest names among the Dodgers' remaining free agents. Reliever Corey Knebel has also already signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Chris Taylor has been underrated for years

He may not be the first player you think of when evaluating the Dodgers' past half-decade of regular season dominance, but few players have been more important to the team than Taylor.

The Dodgers acquired Taylor during the 2016 season in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, sending back erstwhile pitching prospect Zach Lee. At the time, Taylor was considered a decent shortstop who hadn't found his bat in the majors, having hit .240/.296/.296 with Seattle.

With Seager already entrenched at shortstop, the Dodgers used Taylor wherever they could. In six years with the Dodgers, Taylor has played at least 750 innings at shortstop, left field, center field and second base, while seeing action at third base and right field as well.

For a team that values positional flexibility more than nearly any other in MLB, Taylor's emergence was a massive boon to the Dodgers. He has also never posted an OPS+ below 100 with the team, hitting 254/.344/.438 with 20 home runs in 2021.

With that bat and versatility, just about any team could have used Taylor. He reportedly valued staying in Los Angeles over more money.

How are the Dodgers doing in free agency?

It was always going to be an eventful free agency, for better or worse, in Los Angeles, but having to say goodbye to two stars wasn't a great start for the team. 

Here's where the team's gains, losses and outstanding decisions stand (among players with at least 20 plate appearances or five innings pitched):

Gained – Starting pitcher Andrew Heaney (0.2 WAR in 2021, as calculated by Baseball Reference), reliever Daniel Hudson (0.8)

Re-signed – Utility man Chris Taylor (2.6)

Lost – Shortstop Corey Seager (3.7), starting pitcher Max Scherzer (6, 2.7 with Dodgers), reliever Corey Knebel (0.7)

Unsigned – Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (2.4), closer Kenley Jansen (2.3), reliever Jimmy Nelson (0.9), reliever Joe Kelly (0.7), first baseman Albert Pujols (-0.2, 0.2 with Dodgers), Steven Souza Jr. (-0.2)

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