According to FanSided's MLB Insider Robert Murray, the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in veteran free agent outfielder Michael A. Taylor
Thursday evening, there was a report that the Pittsburgh Pirates could be interested in veteran starting pitcher James Paxton, as well as first baseman and old friend Carlos Santana. This was according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Taylor is coming off arguably the best season of his MLB career. With the Minnesota Twins last season, the 10 year veteran hit for a .220/.278/.442 slash line with a 96 wRC+, 21 home runs, and an isolated slugging (ISO) of .223. Taylor’s home run total and ISO were new career highs, while his slugging and wRC+ were second only to the numbers he posted in 2017.
The main calling card for the 32-year-old Taylor is his outfield defense, and this is what would make him a fit with the Pirates. General manager Ben Cherington has already expressed an interest in adding outfield help this offseason. While, yes, the Pirates have traded for Edward Olivares and re-signed Andrew McCutchen, both project more as designated hitters.
Taylor has been primarily a center fielder in his career. Last season, he posted a +5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in center field, and has a career DRS of 65 in center field. Outs Above Average (OAA) data only dates back to 2016, but during this time Taylor owns a +46 OAA in center field to go with a +9 mark last season.
Adding Taylor would significantly improve the team’s outfield defense. Not only is Taylor a plus defender in center field, but it would also allow the Pirates to slide Jack Suwinski to right field. Not only is Suwinski much better suited for right field than center field, he is a plus defender in right field.