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Trading Brian Dozier: Head vs. Heart

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Time for my obligatory “what to do with Dozier” post.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

In 2016, with the Twins spiraling into their worst season in franchise history, it looked like the perfect time to trade Brian Dozier. I argued to keep him.

In 2017, as the Twins neared the deadline fading like a freshman at a frat party, again it looked like a potential opportunity to trade the slugging second baseman. I argued to keep him.

That brings us to 2018, in which the team seems to be somewhere in the muddled middle. They probably aren’t going to lose 100 games, but at the same time they probably won’t be able to sneak into the postseason like they did in ‘17. This year, however, I am okay with seeing Dozier go to the highest bidder (whatever that might look like) at the end of July.

It pains me to make that last statement, as Dozier has always been a favorite a mine. Part of that is probably a “best player on a bad team” syndrome, but I also admire what looks to be a strong sense of leadership & camaraderie both on the field and in the clubhouse. He always hustles, generally plays smart, and has developed a knack for re-inventing himself as a player just when it looks like he’s becoming irrelevant.

I remember how he took the team on his back in the mid-summer of 2015:

As well as all those home runs to the empty green seats in 2016:

Even this year, just when you think he has been left for dead, he heats up in July and sends the Twins into the All-Star break like this:

A lot of great moments for a lot of teams that ranged from God-awful to slightly above-average.

The main reason that I’m okay with the Twins aggressively shopping Dozier at the trade deadline this time around is the simple fact of what happens if they don’t. There really are only three options:

  1. Sign him to a long term deal. Had the Twins wanted this to happen, it would have happened by now. With a player as streaky as Dozier is, I can understand the reluctance to give him a big payday.
  2. Let him walk for nothing. Obviously not ideal.
  3. Extend him a qualifying offer and spin the roulette wheel a bit. I’m admittedly not an expert on baseball legal-wrangling, but the way I understand it is that if he signs the offer, the Twins would then be forced to pay him roughly $18 million for next season. If he doesn’t sign, the Twins would be awarded a compensatory draft pick. With the way Dozier’s 2018 season is playing out, my guess is that he would take that offer and postpone his free agent status one more year. That being said, the discussion could change entirely if he plays pants-on-fire baseball (as has been known to happen) for the final two months.

A final thing to consider: The Twins have always projected Jorge Polanco as more of a second baseman than a shortstop. This move would then open up a spot on the diamond for one of the most touted prospects coming through the organization right now, that of course being Nick Gordon. Even if Gordon isn’t quite ready to start next season in the majors, it wouldn’t be out of the question for an Adrianza or an Escobar to stop the gap.

When reviewing all the potential scenarios involving Dozier, I keep coming back to this: the Twins don’t want to invest a lot of money into that position at the time being, so a long-term deal and a risky qualifying offer are out. Letting him walk after this year would also be an obvious waste of value. As such, that is why I perceive the most logical option to be moving him at the upcoming trade deadline, even if it isn’t for a “haul” (as rental players a year before free agency don’t usually command that anymore).

While it would be sad to see Dozier play for another organization, in this case I feel as if logic must win out over emotion:

Poll

How are you voting in the great Brian Dozier debate?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    With my Head (trade him now to ensure some kind of return)
    (469 votes)
  • 27%
    With my Heart (keep him and play a little roulette next offseason)
    (178 votes)
647 votes total Vote Now