Taylor signs with Royals, officially ending 11-year run with Nats

Michael A. Taylor's 11-year tenure with the Nationals officially ended today when the enigmatic outfielder signed a one-year deal with the Royals, hoping a fresh start with a new organization will reinvigorate his career.

Taylor had been on the open market since Oct. 15, after the Nationals attempted to outright him to Triple-A and he declined the assignment and elected free agency. Though the club was allowed to re-sign him, it seemed clear from the outset the two sides were ready to part ways.

It happened today when Taylor agreed to a $1.75 million deal with an additional $1 million in potential incentives with the Royals, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old will hope to get an opportunity in Kansas City he forever was seeking in Washington: a chance to play every day for the long haul.

Michael-A-Taylor-Leaping-Catch-At-Wall-at-Phillies-Gray-Sidebar.jpgThough he did start in center field for the Nationals over multiple stretches during his career, Taylor topped 450 plate appearances only once in seven seasons: in 2015. He enjoyed his best season in 2017 when he batted .271 with 19 homers, 53 RBIs and an .806 OPS over 432 plate appearances, but regressed the following year and became a part-time player who even spent large chunks of time in the minor leagues over the last two seasons.

Taylor's most memorable performances for the Nationals were big ones, because they came in the postseason. His grand slam in Game 4 of the 2017 National League Division Series at Wrigley Field helped force a do-or-die game against the Cubs the next night, and he homered again in that showdown before his teammates gave up the lead. And after Victor Robles suffered a hamstring injury during the 2019 NLDS, Taylor stepped in and started a string of games in center field, homering in St. Louis during the NL Championship Series and later homering in his only at-bat of the World Series.

A sixth-round pick in the 2009 draft out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Taylor originally was a shortstop but soon converted to the outfield. He made his major league debut in 2014 and over 574 games with the Nationals hit .237 with 53 homers, 184 RBIs and a .686 OPS. His Achilles' heel: 566 strikeouts in 1,804 major league plate appearances.

Still, Taylor had been one of the longest-tenured players in the organization. Only Ryan Zimmerman (drafted in 2005) predated him, though Stephen Strasburg was a fellow 2009 draft pick and reached the majors four years before Taylor did.

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