The Rockies have interest in free agent second baseman Brian Dozier, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports. The club is only considering short-term options for Dozier, however, and even that type of contract might be questionable depending on the Rockies’ payroll.
Dozier was one of the game’s best all-around second basemen from 2014-17, particularly in the final two years of that stretch when he hit .269/.349/.522 with 76 homers over 1396 plate appearances for the Twins. Between that big bat, excellent baserunning and at least-average glovework, Dozier looked to be in line for a strong multi-year contract in free agency this winter before running into a rough 2018 campaign. Dozier hit just .215/.305/.391 with 21 home runs over 632 PA with the Twins and Dodgers last season, with knee problems perhaps contributing to the down year.
In the wake of such a season, the 31-year-old Dozier could be open to a short-term agreement (i.e. a one-year contract with a player option for 2020, or perhaps just a straight one-year deal) as something of a “pillow contract.” He’d get a chance to re-establish his value this season and then re-enter free agency next winter with a much stronger case for a lucrative multi-year commitment.
The Nationals and Brewers have both been linked to Dozier this winter, and both teams are in the market for a short-term answer at the keystone while a second baseman of the future (Carter Kieboom and Keston Hiura, respectively) waits in the wings for 2020. The Rockies are somewhat in the same boat, as they currently have noteworthy prospects Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon slated for the bulk of second base duties this season, now that DJ LeMahieu is off to test his own free agent wares. Since Colorado fully plans on contending next season, however, the team could prefer a more established second baseman, and in Dozier’s case, one that could end up being a major contributor if he returns to his old form.
Even on a one-year guarantee, Dozier might still cost too much for the Rockies’ liking, especially since his market is reportedly “starting to heat up.” Roster Resource already projects Colorado for a club-record Opening Day payroll of just under $151.9MM. A big chunk of those funds could be covered by a potentially record-setting arbitration payday for superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado, though the bigger issue is the amount of money the Rockies have spent in recent years on underachieving free agents (i.e. Ian Desmond, Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, Mike Dunn). Beyond a second baseman, the Rockies could also need to spend to address their catching situation, plus a hole in the bullpen left behind by Adam Ottavino. The Rockies seem like a prime candidate for a contract swap, or perhaps just a pure salary dump to free up money for Dozier or other additions.