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Pirates to Sign Outfielder Michael A. Taylor



Pittsburgh Pirates, Michael A. Taylor

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a late addition to their roster. They are in agreement on a one-year, $4 million deal with outfielder Michael A. Taylor, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Taylor spent the 2023 season with the Minnesota Twins and appeared in 129 games. The soon-to-be 33-year-old slashed .220/.278/.442 with a career-high 21 home runs, 51 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts.

Originally a sixth-round draft pick of the Washington Nationals in 2009, Taylor has 10 big-league seasons combined between the Nationals, Twins and Kansas City Royals.

Taylor’s career slash of .239/.294/.389 leaves some to be desired, though he has been a more productive player over the last two seasons. His .720 OPS from the 2023 season is his best since 2017 and the second-highest of his career.

Taylor is a much better performer against left-handed pitching than he is against righties, giving the Pirates a potential platoon option with Jack Suwinski in center field. The Pirates, too, could opt to move Suwinski to right field.

In his career, Taylor has managed a .746 OPS against southpaws compared to a .657 OPS against right-handed pitching.

Taylor is a well above-average defender and is more than capable of patrolling center field. Taylor was the recipient of an American League Gold Glove as the Royals’ center fielder during the 2021 season. In his career, he’s accumulated 69 defensive runs saved at his primary position, including five DRS in 126 games win Minnesota last season. He’s fifth amongst all center fielders in DRS since the start of 2014.

While he’s spent the bulk of his career in center, Taylor also has some experience at both corner spots, giving the Pirates some additional flexibility.

Taylor joins an outfield mix in Pittsburgh that includes the likes of Suwinski, Bryan Reynolds, Joshua Palacios and Edward Olivares.

He’s one of several free agents the Pirates have signed in preparation for the regular season, joining Aroldis Chapman, Martín Pérez, Rowdy Tellez and Yasmani Grandal.

It had been reported that the Pirates had interest in fellow outfielder Tommy Pham, though he’s seemingly no longer an option with the addition of Taylor.

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