Twins second baseman Brian Dozier would like to stay in Minnesota for the long haul, but he realizes the rebuilding club might not feel the same way.
“You need to see after the season who is going to be our GM, which obviously plays a huge part in it,” Dozier told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Twins are in the midst of a front office shakeup and are looking for both a president of baseball operations and a general manager. Interim GM Rob Antony is a candidate to take over as president, and he’s aware of Dozier’s desire to remain with the Twins.
“I know talking with (interim GM Rob Antony) he knows I’d love to be here for a very, very long time,” Dozier said. “We made that clear the past three or four years as we’ve been talking about extensions and that kind of thing. But there’s way too many (questions) and there’s a lot of other things involved that have to take place rather than just for me to say, ‘Hey, I’m open. Let’s do it.’ ”
Antony was working under then-GM Terry Ryan when the Twins signed Dozier to a four-year, $20MM extension prior to the 2015 season. That contract has been a bargain for the Twins, especially this season. After slashing .240/.322/.425 with 69 home runs and 47 stolen bases in 2,034 plate appearances from 2013-15, during which time he combined for 10.5 fWAR, Dozier’s performance has reached an higher level in 2016. The 29-year-old has belted 41 homers, becoming just the fourth second baseman to hit 40 or more in a season, to accompany a .282/.354/.577 line across 641 PAs. Dozier has also added 15 steals on 17 attempts and accumulated 6.2 fWAR, the majors’ eighth-highest total among position players.
Given both his on-field excellence and cheap remaining control (two years, $15MM), the last-place Twins will have a highly appealing trade chip on their hands if they choose to shop Dozier in the offseason. Before putting Dozier on the block, the Twins would likely approach him about an extension, according to Berardino. Not only would locking Dozier up be costly, but the possibility of the team being a fair distance from returning to contention could make retaining him for the foreseeable future all the more difficult.
“I want to win,” Dozier said. “I want to win more than ever. It’s a point in my career that I want to have everybody on the same page — to be dedicated to win and make sure to do that. That comes first.”
With the offseason approaching, plenty of opposing scouts have been on hand at Twins games this month to watch Dozier, per Berardino. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported last week that the Twins would likely want front-line pitching in return for Dozier, for whom they have a potential successor in Baseball America’s 97th-ranked prospect, Jorge Polanco. While mostly playing shortstop for the Twins, the 23-year-old has held his own with a .294/.344/.431 line in 217 trips to the plate this season.