Thursday, January 26, 2017

Brian Dozier Update: Unlikely To Be Traded

Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has quietly been one of Major League Baseball's top second baseman for the last few seasons. Due to the Twins losing records and lack of any real star power, though, Dozier's production wasn't as well known as one would expect.

The power hitting right hander made sure everyone knew who he was after last season. He hit .268/.340/.546 with 42 home runs in 155 games. He also added 18 steals in 20 attempts, and he ranked as the best base runner among qualified 2B. Add in his average defense, and Dozier is a very good all-around player.

The Twins reportedly were willing to listen to trade offers for their star second baseman, due in large part to the fact that the team is likely still a season or two away from even .500, and Dozier will turn 30-years-old on May 15.





The team is also willing to listen because it's possible that Dozier's 2016 season will be his career year. Prior to last season's .886 OPS, Dozier posted OPS of .762 and .751 the two prior seasons. Both are respectable offensive seasons for a second baseman, and he's been a great base runner every year, but the difference between a .762 OPS and .886 OPS for a second baseman is a borderline starter in an all-star game and an MVP candidate.

Dozier's past makes valuing him a bit difficult, for both the Twins and teams that have interest in him. The Los Angeles Dodgers were the most linked team to Dozier, because he has a very team friendly deal for the next two seasons. The Dodgers are trying to cut costs as well as add a right handed power hitter, so Dozier seemed like a perfect fit for a team that badly needed a second baseman.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers and Twins failed to match up for a Dozier trade, as the Dodgers reportedly wouldn't offer anything more than top pitching prospect Jose De Leon, and the Twins wanted more for their breakout star. The Dodgers stance looked even sillier a few days later, as the team agreed to trade Jose De Leon to the Tampa Bay Rays for Logan Forsythe. Forsythe has had two productive seasons after struggling prior to that, but he hasn't been quite the player Dozier has been and is more likely than Dozier I think to return to his poor offensive numbers.

With the Dodgers no longer in need of a middle infielder, and no other realistic suitors at this point, it seems like Dozier will be a member of the Twins at least until the July trade deadline. There's plenty of risk involved in that strategy, as a poor first half could submarine Dozier's trade value. Of course, if he continues his second-half surge into this season, his trade value will improve, and with no offers worthy of taking, that's really the team's only option. It'll be worth watching Jose De Leon's development in Tampa Bay as well, and hoping he doesn't turn into a top tier starting pitcher. But even if he does, the Twins made the right decision with the information currently available. Dozier is worth more than one prospect, plain and simple.