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Michael Taylor’s Wild Ride


Michael Taylor has had a wild run in professional baseball, and he has not even played twenty games over the course of his career. Originally drafted by the Phillies in the 2007 draft Taylor found his way to the Toronto Blue Jays via the Roy Halladay trade. Through that same trade however, he made his way to Oakland with the A’s sending once highly regarded prospect Brett Wallace to the Blue Jays. For those who don’t remember Wallace here’s a little background on how the A’s landed him.

May 6, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Michael Taylor (23) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Oakland Athletics defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in twelfth innings. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It all started in 2008 when the A’s acquired Matt Holliday from the Colorado Rockies for Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith, and Huston Street. That next season (mid-2009) the A’s traded Holliday to the St. Louis Cardinals for Shane Peterson, Clayton Mortensen, and the centerpiece Brett Wallace. The A’s either changed their mind about Wallace or saw more potential somewhere else. They then traded Wallace to the Toronto Blue Jays for Michael Taylor. Now that all the transactions are over we can see where we stand.

Carlos Gonzalez blew up in Colorado becoming an elite centerfielder.

Huston Street was above average but has somewhat faltered in the last couple of seasons.

Greg Smith has bounced around everywhere and is currently signed on with the Blue Jays.

Matt Holliday has taken off in St. Louis becoming a force in a strong lineup.

Clayton Mortensen was traded in 2011 to the Rockies and was again traded to the Boston Red Sox last season.

Shane Peterson is heavily producing at Triple-A Sacramento but with a crowded outfield in Oakland he likely won’t be seeing Major League playing time anytime soon.

Brett Wallace is currently with the Houston Astros. He has put up fairly pedestrian numbers.

Lastly we have Michael Taylor. It seems ludicrous to think Peterson and Taylor found their way to Oakland via three trades. Taylor was seen as a multiple tool player who would be a regular at the Major League level. However, after a couple of outstanding years at the lower levels Taylor has never really caught on in Sacramento. His average dipped the past couple of seasons and he has seen a drop in his usually praised power numbers.

What can an organization do when one of its top prospects falters for multiple seasons? There are a few options. The first is they could look to trade Taylor. Their outfield is already crowded at the Major League level and in Sacramento sits Peterson and top prospect Michael Choice. Maybe a straight swap such as the one that brought Taylor to Oakland in the first place might work. A second option might be to let him try and figure out his struggles. If he can replicate the results that made him a top prospect in the first place the A’s will have the flexibility to potentially trade someone at the Major League level and get better value in return. A third is to let him go. It sounds harsh but a change of scenery might do Taylor well.