(Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)
While the Hot Stove season seemed to begin with a somewhat steamy start at the general managers meetings in Scottsdale last week, many rumors surrounding the Dodgers have since settled to whispers, as the club could be waiting on news regarding Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen before creating a game plan for the remainder of the roster.
One intriguing chunk of gossip that appeared to have a bit of momentum early was the club’s interest in Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier. The 29-year-old Tupelo native is coming off his best campaign in the bigs, and there’s no question he could make a difference in the Dodgers’ power department, an area of production that has been lacking consistency for the past several seasons.
In 2016, Dozier slashed .268/.340/.546 with 42 home runs, 35 doubles, 99 RBI and 104 runs scored in 155 games played. He also stole 18 bases for the Twins while being caught only twice, an aspect of the game which the Dodgers are certainly lacking. While the Los Angeles offense was seemingly victimized by southpaw pitching last season, Dozier hit .282/.352/.613 with 11 home runs and 21 RBI in 159 plate appearances against leftys last year — numbers that the Dodgers would certainly welcome.
Dozier’s defense isn’t exactly categorized as elite, but his glove work isn’t ranked poorly by any means. His average range probably prevents him from appearing on the nightly web gem reel, and his UZR doesn’t indicate a defender of gold glove value. However, his runs saved numbers have dramatically improved recently, and his ability to handle the duties at shortstop if needed certainly add to his overall worth.
Many fans of the Dodgers have already put Dozier under a microscope, citing his 2016 offensive efforts as a fluke when pointing out his career .240 batting average prior to last season. Despite the low average, though, his OBP has improved significantly in recent years, and a BABIP lingering in the mid-.260 range from 2013-15 could indicate a large amount of simple bad luck. After a tremendously slow start last spring, Dozier’s second half numbers suggest he’s finally starting to mature and understand the art of hitting.
“You have to figure out what type of player you are — what type of hitter you are,” Dozier said just after the 2016 All-Star break. “I’ve learned that once you find it, you stick with it. You can try to make adjustments throughout your career, but you should never lose sight of your strengths.”
So what would Minnesota demand from the Dodgers in a trade for a relatively young, power-hitting second baseman who can mash left-handed pitching and has an extremely team-friendly contract?
Much of the early fan-based speculation around Dodgertown featured many conversations regarding outfielder Yasiel Puig, but it’s tough to imagine the Dodgers parting ways with Puig, especially considering the team’s weakness against lefty pitching. Jose De Leon‘s name has been mentioned hypothetically, representing a piece which has a very high ceiling in the future, but could conceivably be expendable if Los Angeles upgrades the rotation with a top-tier arm.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of the farm and prefer building from within, but I really like what Dozier brings to the table, and being a club with even higher playoff aspirations in 2017, the Dodgers simply do not have the internal options at the keystone to elevate them to a championship level. I’m thinking at a minimum, the Twins ask for a package featuring somebody of the caliber of De León, along with one or two unprovens, like Willie Calhoun or Alex Verdugo, for example. Even an offering of that degree still might not get the job done, but it gives Los Angeles fans an idea of what other clubs are demanding from the Dodgers’ front office these days, especially when it comes to inquiring about very solid players with exceptionally economical contracts.
As far as the remainder of the roster is concerned, things may get very crazy over the next three months as the Dodgers’ management crew begins to execute a plan which they hope produces a championship roster in 2017.
11 thoughts on “Dodgers Trade Rumors: What Would It Take to Land Brian Dozier?”
I think a package starts with Urias or De Leon (De Leon more realistically) and has to include Austin Barnes given the Twins lack of catching. The Twins need arms so a second pitching prospect would help get it done.
I’d hate to lose either one, but I think I could go De Leon and Kyle Farmer if I were GM.
What would intrigue me if the Twins packaged Dozier and SP Ervin Santana to the Dodgers. They could get the haul of young pitching they need, the Dodgers would add a capable, durable, healthy starter and a middle-of-the-order bat.
As the Minnesota GM, I would want Urias, De Leon, and Joc Pederson. If I was not able to get both Urias and De Leon, I might consider Walker Buehler. If Joc was also not available, then I would look at Will Smith and Alex Verdugo. So I would ask for Urias, De Leon and Peterson, then end up with De Leon, Buehler, Will Smith and Verdugo.
If the Dodgers were to bring Dozier (29) on board, they would block Willie Calhoun’s path to the majors. So they might as well offer him as part of the trade package instead of Cody Bellinger, heir apparent to the position currently occupied by Adrian Gonzalez. Alex Verdugo and Walker Beuhler could round it out.
The Twins will prioritize pitching. De Leon is a must in any Dozier deal (although I bet they ask for Urias first). They have Jorge Polanco as the heir apparent at second and seem reluctant to let him stay at SS, but maybe acquiring Calhoun forces that decision for them. They have a full OF currently, but Verdugo’s talent is worth bringing in. Joe Mauer is clearly not his old self at 1B, so Bellinger would have appeal as his long-term replacement, even with Park and Vargas as options on the roster. But, it all starts and ends with pitching for the Twins and their greatest secondary need is catching.
Urias and Bellinger are off the table. I can say that with certainty.
If i were the Twins GM, deal HAS TO include De Leon or Urias take your pick. If it’s De Leon then your going to have to include Alvarez and Buehler or were done talking.
I’d hate to lose either one, but I think I would go De Leon and Buehler if I were GM. Nothing more, though.