Brian Dozier made some interesting comments on his future with the Minnesota Twins, but the team needs to keep things at its pace.
Over the last two seasons, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has hit 76 home runs, driven in 192 with an .871 OPS, won a Gold Glove and delivered WAR (via Baseball Reference) of 6.5 (2016) and 4.4 (2017). A new front office regime tried to trade him last offseason, but didn’t find a return to their liking.
Dozier, in the final year of his contract and approaching 31 years old, is set to make $9 million this season. Talks of a contract extension appear to not even be off the ground, and Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune relayed Dozier’s comments about his looming free agency:
“I don’t want to touch too much on this, it’s the thing that gets asked all the time, but at the same time, I will be a free agent this fall,” Dozier said. “That’s the bottom line. You can only say you want to be here so much, and nothing gets done.
“That’s just the way it is. I understand everything. At the same time, you’re six months away from free agency. That’s intriguing.”
The Twins have some young middle infield depth around, in Jorge Polanco, 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis and 2014 No. 5 overall pick Nick Gordon. Polanco has taken over as the Twins starting shortstop, but he may still be seen as an easy convert to second base long-term.
Gordon is coming off a solid season in Double-A, and similar success at Triple-A this year will put him on the cusp of a promotion to the big leagues. Lewis is more promise than production at this point, with a partial pro season under his belt, but he won’t even turn 19 until June.
MLB teams have been far more financially responsible this offseason, perhaps in preparation for a free agent class next winter that may include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. Dozier would be another notable player on that list, even if he’s not quite as big a name.
The Twins appear not to be interested in serious talks with Dozier about a contract extension. His track record says he’s worth a solid commitment, but he’s also getting toward an age where the end of a lengthy deal brings diminished returns. As they wait to see how Gordon does in a step up to Triple-A this year, while keeping other options open, Twins CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine can continue to slow-play their end of contract talks with Dozier’s agent.
If the Twins fall out of contention before the trade deadline, Dozier will be an obvious trade chip. His comments about wanting to stay and nothing getting done are noteworthy, but that shouldn’t make the Twins change the stance they’ve taken to this point.