Brian Dozier could be on his way out of Minnesota, as the Minnesota Twins are considering dealing their power hitting second baseman. According to reports, a decision could be close, as the team does not want this situation to drag on into Spring Training. The Twins have also reportedly asked teams for their final and best offers over the course of the last week. But the question remains, will the club actually move their 29-year-old second baseman? He was a clear bright spot on an offense that was pretty bad in 2016. For a team that ranked in the second half of many offensive statistics, Dozier managed 42 home runs, 99 runs and 104 RBIs. Without Dozier, it is safe to say the Twins would not have ranked better than 20th in any key offensive metrics. Despite that, now is the time to pull the trigger on a deal for the right-handed second baseman. Sure it may seem like an odd move for an offensively challenged team to deal a guy who is currently their best player when it comes to swinging the bat. But for a team like the Twins, who are not likely to be competing for a World Series title in 2017, the future is more important. So for starters, this could be the highest Dozier’s value will ever reach. Coming off a season that saw him hit 42 homers, which is 14 more than he has hit in any other season, it is time to capitalize on that surge in power. As Dozier enters a season that will see him turn 30 in May, we have no idea if he will ever reach that number ever again. Even his batting average, which sat at .268, was well above his career average. If you look across his stat line, Dozier’s numbers certainly were inflated over his career averages. [Kenny] So what happens if he opens up 2017 in a bit of a slump? The aura of his awesome 2016 season will begin to fade, as other teams will point to the player who is currently on the field hitting closer to .240. If that were to happen, which I want to point out is not a given, but simply a possibility, then Dozier’s value will simply take a hit as the trade deadline approaches. Next, we look at his contract. Dozier has two years, both at very reasonable rates, left on his deal. He will make six million this year, and then nine million in 2018 before becoming a free agent. Those are extremely appealing numbers for a guy who plays second base and can hit between 30 and 40 home runs. Those two years will still be while he is in the back end of his prime as well, so a steep drop off is not likely. So all of that considered, now is the time the Twins should pull off a deal, as now is the time they will get the most back in return. The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the most likely fit for the slugging infielder, and the biggest issue might be the lack of competition to help drive the price up. But there is no denying the Dodgers need to upgrade at second base, and they are willing to move 24-year-old right-hander Jose De Leon. As long as the Twins can gain enough leverage, they should be able to squeeze one other decent prospect out of the Dodgers. And if they can do just that, Dozier will be on his way out of Minnesota. It should not be long before we know for sure if the Twins decide to move their best hitter. Fans may not like the move now, but when all is said and done, it is the correct move for an organization that is focused on the future.
Sep 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier (2) hits a single in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports