Brian Dozier has emerged as one of the faces of the Twins’ franchises in recent years, but he’s now on the precipice of free agency and has not been approached by the team about a contract he tells Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Dozier is earning $9MM this season in the final season of a four-year, $20MM contract which bought out all of his arbitration seasons. A new contract, though, does not look to be in the cards at this time, according to the infielder himself.
“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 to Souhan. “That’s the bottom line. You can only say you want to be here so much, and nothing gets done.”
Dozier has, as he implied, stated on multiple occasions that he hopes to remain in the Twin Cities for the long haul. The lack of a spring extension certainly doesn’t preclude that from happening, though in-season negotiations are rarer, and his quality track record would figure to generate interest from multiple clubs next winter. While many Twins fans may hope for some late-developing negotiations, Dozier’s comments don’t lend much reason for optimism.
“I’ve said I wanted to stay here since forever, but I’ve really vocalized it the last couple years,” said Dozier (via Bollinger). “But I just don’t think it’s in their future, from what I’ve been told. … It’s pretty much black and white from what I’ve been hearing, which is upsetting, but you turn the page and play to win.”
A former eighth-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, Dozier debuted as a largely unheralded prospect and solidified himself as a quality regular before breaking out in recent years as one of the game’s most powerful second basemen. Over the past two seasons, the 30-year-old has slashed .269/.349/.522 with 76 homers, and he’s hit a total of 104 long balls over the past three seasons. He’s been a durable source of production in Minnesota as well, averaging 153 games and 686 plate appearances per year since his first full season back in 2013.
If the Twins are prepared to stick with internal options, they’ll have no shortage of intriguing up-the-middle players to turn to in the coming years. Jorge Polanco put together a huge two-month finish to the 2017 season and will open the ’18 campaign as Minnesota’s primary shortstop, though scouting reports have suggested that second base is his best position. Former top 10 pick Nick Gordon is on the cusp of MLB readiness and could occupy one of the two middle-infield slots in the near future. Royce Lewis, the top pick in the 2017 draft and Wander Javier, who received a $4MM bonus on the international market from the Twins, are further down the line but are viewed as potential key infield pieces in the long term.
Of course, going that route would likely weaken the Twins’ chances in 2019 when the team further hopes its young core has come into its own in an AL Central that’ll still have at least two rebuilding clubs (Royals, Tigers). That’ll all be factored into the ultimate decision of chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine, to be sure. One element that seems clear is that a lack of commitment to Dozier wouldn’t stem from payroll limitations; the Twins have just four players under contract for the 2019 season and somewhat remarkably don’t have a single dollar on the books in 2020 and beyond.
Dozier will turn 31 in May, meaning any new contract — be it an extension or a free-agent deal — would begin with his age-32 season. Dozier, Daniel Murphy and DJ LeMahieu will headline next year’s crop of free-agent second basemen, where they’ll be joined by a quality utility option also capable of playing second base in the form of Marwin Gonzalez.
If he performs well they’ll give him a qualifying offer. And you see this winter what happens to guys that turn it down.
Take the QO. It’s going to be hard to get that kind of money per year. Many guys get just more than the QO for 2 years with options. Take the QO every time and when it’s not offered then take smaller deals.
They may be well served to wait until this fall. Let the cold harsh reality of this winters market sink in for Dozier’s camp, and get a better assessment of their internal options.
Would hate seeing him walk, but at the end of the day, buying his age 32-36ish seasons may just not be the best route.
Dang, Dozier has been on a 4/20 million dollar contract? 5 m/year? He’s put up 13.5 WAR in the last three seasons for 15 million bucks – man, that might be the best bargain in baseball. (He also put up a 5.2 WAR season in 2014 for 540K which is an even more amazing bargain) I don’t blame him for wanting to get paid. He’s provided roughly 100 million dollars in surplus value over the last four seasons .
It was just to buy out his arb years. I’m sure he cost himself a few million in hindsight, but locking in that first $20MM without having to delay free agency is a pretty defensible trade-off for most players.
@ Steve Adams.
Even if Dozier has taken it year by year, how much do you think he would’ve earned?
HR pay well in arbitration.
Oh, I understand why he did it; I’m just saying he has been a helluva bargain for the Twins
He would have made more if he had just gone the arbitration route but even then he would have been “a helluva bargain.” Arbitration salaries are almost always well below market value.
The “100 million dollars in surplus value” is highly misleading.
Dozier’s contract covers his 3rb pre-arb season (2015) and his 3 arbitration years (2016 – 2018). Conversely had the Twins taken things year-by-year, Dozier would only earn `~ 30mm in that same span of time.
For example, Johnathan Schoop in 2 rounds of arbitration has secured $12mm in earnings, while Manny Machado in his 3 rounds of arbitration has secured $33mm in earnings.
So no matter how I view it, Dozier’s contract is a bargain, but it’s not $100mm in savings.
I’m using “surplus value” as just a generic 7-9 million dollars worth of value/win, compared to his actual contract. He obviously wouldn’t ever get 100+ million dollars in a contract, but he has provided that kind of value to the Twins. So maybe he’s earned 90 million in surplus value. Regardless, he’s been a bargain for the price.
Just sign him damn it! None of their prospects are ready to step up and Polanco is not Dozier.
It all depends on the terms he’s got in mind. If he’s thinking $100m+ / 5y+ then Twins are better off using that money elsewhere and going with Polanco.
I agree with that.
If the Twins truly have the right to “just sign” players they might as well shoot for the moon and go after Kershaw next offseason.
you knew he was history when torii and brian called out the front office for not helping the team,back in 2015…….he has been twins MVP for 3 years running and they will let him walk away for a draft pick….this front office is just curly ryan 2.0
I love Dozier, but you need to see the reality of it too. I’d love for the Twins to resign Dozier, but if his demands are unrealistic we have young options coming up to help the parent club.
Who and When?
I would assume they mean Gordon who will likely be up this year at some point.
I like Dozier way more and I’m not high on Gordon at all, but I wouldn’t want them to give a huge contract to Dozier even while knowing the drop off in production would be huge.
3/50 is something I could get behind. I’m more concerned with the years than the money.
Nick Gordon was in AA last season. Doubt he’ll be ready. Escobar will also be a free agent. Adrianza sucks. Worst case Eddie Rosario moves back to 2B.
AA isn’t that far from the majors. Players get called up from AA all the time. I wouldn’t have done it with Gordon because he’s not special, but it’s not like it doesn’t happen. Gordon is projected to be in AAA this year. Shouldn’t need more than one year of PAs there unless he struggles. So yes, he easily could be ready in 2019.
Escobar may be re-signed, but at this point he’s a backup. As is Adrianza. And Rosario was bad at 2B so it’s not happening.
It’ll be Gordon, Escobar (if they re-sign him) or another FA next year if it’s not Dozier.
He hasn’t made demands. The twins won’t even talk about where both sides are at. They’re just letting him go with no talks.
I’m sorry but first off that was a different front office. Second, this front office has been in place for a year and they are nothing like Terry Ryan so far.
I’m not sure why the Twins wouldn’t be willing to trade from some of that infield depth to acquire pitching and possibly extend Dozier by 3 years or so. At some point he could transition to 3rd with Sano playing first after Mauer is done.
I think their MI depth is absolutely in play for a midsummer deal. But no harm in waiting for the deadline market to unfold, and having an extra 3 months to decide their longterm MI vs who’s merely a trade chip.
Cesar Hernandez has been available all winter and not even a rumor about a trade. Apparently anyone can start at 2B. Kinsler is an old man who won’t be worth two wins. Walker is getting minor league contract offers.
Robbie Cano is the most overpaid player in MLB history.
You’re Casey’s partner. I wonder who would ever want to actually meet casey…
Those dang teams who don’t want to overpay in a trade for Cesar hernandez. How dare they
Something not happening is not news. It wasnt news yesterday, and it hadn’t happened then, either.
Dozier publicly stating that’s he’s frustrated that extension talks haven’t happened is news though.
Not surprising, the slow free agency market this year part.ly means teams will hope the price of players will decrease. The Twins aren’t a big market team but they’re not a small market team, playing the waiting game is most likely to benefit them.
If Toby the end if the year they do not feel any of the prospects are ready, they can just offer a qualifying offer. Considering how this of season has turned out, he will probably take it.
One side effect of this year’s free agent market will be teams less willing to sign veteran extensions. Buying out arb years will happen, but probably close to what they would of gotten anyways. Hopefully the big spenders resetting tax penalties and the uber enviable free agent class will help.
I could see the twins looking to get a youngster whose close to MLB ready or a good starting pitcher to shore up a playoff run for Dozier at the deadline. The twins may not have a lot of money committed now, but they have a few youngsters who will be expensive to resign in 2020, Dozier may not be worth it for their long term plans. Although it’s hard to argue will success.
Does any player ever say, “I hope to be somewhere else next year”?
I mean, unless they’re playing for the Marlins.
Trade for Cesar Hernandez, ship Dozier to team x and a pitcher to the Phils.
Twins are looking for pitchers themselves. Trading a pitcher for Hernandez is the equivalent to shuffling deck chairs on the titanic.
And having way worse deck chairs to sit on considering Dozier is way better than Hernandez.
If Dozier does become a free agent, I’d like to see him sign with Atlanta. Move Albies to short and Swanson to 3rd (or see if Dozier can play 3B) and roll with it. Those three with Freddie Freeman would be a solid infield, and Johan Camargo would serve as a solid utility option.
Dozier has been great with his homeruns and defense, but the guy stops at first base on plays that he thinks he’s been thrown out. It happens often with him, and he won’t run through first base as we are taught since little league, (just in case the ball is bobbled or dropped). Good player, great skills, poor example for how to hustle down the line “just in case”.
There are a lot of teams in this position. With the goldrush offseason coming up, I can’t see many GMs willing to dole out long-term big-dollar contracts if they can potentially spend that payroll on the elite tier 1 talent that will be available. And, if that fails then what’s to stop them from re-approaching their own guys who have hit the market?