By Thomas Williams
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Changing baseball organizations can be a daunting task when still a teenager, but it didn’t stop Samad Taylor from approaching it with confidence and familiarity.
The 2017 MLB Trade Deadline Day saw Taylor and pitcher Thomas Pannone dealt to the Blue Jays from the Cleveland Indians for reliever Joe Smith.
Having just turned 19-years-old 20 days prior, the young prospect was heading to a team with some familiar faces.
“I would say just knowing about Ross [Atkins] and [Mark] Shapiro really made me feel at home again.” said Taylor, reflecting on his move to the Blue Jays.
Atkins and Shapiro joined the Blue Jays front office after the 2015 season and carried some of the Cleveland baseball philosophies into their new place of employment, creating that familiar atmosphere for Taylor.
Even within a new franchise, he was able to rely on some recognizable executive personnel to help accommodate him to fresh surroundings. But that was not the only familiar face the newly-traded infielder had on the Blue Jays.
Outfield prospect Chavez Young and Taylor knew each other before the trade happened, helping the young infielder ground himself.
“I’m real cool with a couple boys with the Indians that are from the Bahamas and I met [Chavez] through them,” said Taylor. “So once I got traded it was like ‘Hey I’m here, we’re here, and let’s get back at it’. So it was cool, I thank [Chavez] a lot for that.”
Young and Taylor not only connected off the field but on the field too, winning the 2017 Northwest League Championship together and being on the field during the final out to win the title.
It was not always easy for the Corona, Calif., native after the trade, but Young helped him adapt to his new situation within an unknown team.
“Coming from an organization that harped about brotherhood and then getting traded to another organization that I didn’t know a thing about (was hard),” said the second-baseman.
Brotherhood and the relationship between teammates is a big part of Taylor’s mentality throughout the season.
“I’m gone away from my family until September. I come to the field, and you guys are my family, you guys are my brothers,” said Taylor.
Having those teammates that now have become like members of his family, Taylor moves on from a transition that began with unknowns and heads into 2019 with his brotherhood behind him.