Could Brian Dozier be batting to the sweet sounds of the tomahawk chop next season? According to a series of tweets from Mike Berardino this morning... maybe?
Was told by source w/direct knowledge not to rule out #Braves as stealth landing spot for Dozier. Excess young arms (Wisler, Blair) w/upside— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) January 6, 2017
Dozier's charisma, grit, marketing potential, Southern accent all would fit snugly for #Braves as they move into new ballpark.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) January 6, 2017
Interest from the Braves seems somewhat plausible in light of news yesterday that veteran Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips blocked an attempted trade to Atlanta earlier this off-season. The Braves also have an abundance of young pitchers.
The problem here, again, is that this rumor reads much more like an attempt to sell Dozier to the Braves than it does a report that the Braves are actually interested. It fits very well the recent pattern of non-Dodgers teams’ interest in a a trade being overstated. In fact, the Braves’ name has already come up before, prompting this tweet from noted Arby’s enthusiast John Heyman way back on boxing day:
Braves apparently not in on dozier. Dodgers, cards (as wolfson said), giants, nats (reportedly) are known teams.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 27, 2016
It’s certainly possible that the Braves have changed their mind in the past week and a half, but i’m just not buying it. The Braves already have a couple of young middle infield prospects coming up in their system in Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson. Although news that Phillips blocked a trade to Atlanta came out yesterday, that actually occurred last November, so I don’t see it causing a change in direction now.
In addition, the names specifically mentioned by Berardino—Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair—don’t seem like a realistic return for Dozier. Wisler, 24 next June, posted a 5.00 ERA in 26 starts for the Braves last season, while Blair, 25 in May, posted a 7.59 ERA in 15 major league starts. While both young(ish?) with some good upside, even both of those guys wouldn’t be enough for a second baseman coming over a 42 home run season.
So is this just a bunch of smoke being blown out of the Twins front office again? Probably.