The Dodgers have been linked to Brian Dozier since the beginning of the off-season, but nothing has come to fruition. However, there is talk the Dodgers are willing to part with prospect Jose De Leon to bring Dozier to Los Angeles.
The Dodgers currently have no second baseman. Kike Hernandez had a very disappointing season, and Chase Utley is a 38-year old free agent. Although both were valuable pieces to the Dodgers’ success the past two seasons, they are not viable options if the Dodgers wish to improve upon their 2016 season.
Another option besides Dozier is Logan Forsythe, but he would be more of a next-best choice to Dozier. The Dodgers are like the most expensive restaurant in town and they won’t settle for anything less than the first pick of the market.
The Dodgers should go through with the trade that intrigued the Minnesota Twins. Of course, the Twins prefer Cody Bellinger, but realistically the Dodgers wouldn’t send their top prospect for Dozier.
De Leon was a 24th round pick who rose through the ranks in the system, so the Dodgers aren’t surrendering a high round draft pick. He started four games in 2016, victorious in two, but owning a 6.35 ERA in just 17 innings.
Watching De Leon’s progression to the big leagues, he’s had one of the highest strikeout per nine innings marks in the minors. He has a swing and miss fastball that touches 96 mph, a recently developed devastating change up, and a slider. His struggles in his debut season is also very normal for him. When he first joined the Dodgers organization he struggled, but once he found his groove he excelled to become the Dodgers’ number two prospect.
Though he would be a front-end of the rotation starter for the Dodgers in the future, the Dodgers’ need for a right-handed second baseman right now is dire. The Dodgers invested a lot of money to retain many of the pieces from last year, and now all that’s missing is Dozier. His power from the right side, youth, and favorable contract point to a long-awaited National League pennant.
That being said, the Twins are well aware of how this favors the Dodgers so they will try to milk another upper-end prospect to tag along with De Leon. Even the San Francisco Giants are joining the mix, knowing that Dozier’s addition to their divisional rivals will threaten their path to the playoffs.
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All the Dodgers need to do to get Dozier is find that extra player. However, once the Dodgers get him, the Dodgers should stop spending. Therefore, several players must step up in 2017, especially pitching wise. Sending De Leon away means one less quality arm in the rotation. For the Dodgers, quality is the problem not quantity. Again the trio of Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, and Brett Anderson must chip in to round out the rotation. If Hyun Jin Ryu comes back healthy it will also be a huge boost to the Dodgers.
Lastly, since the Dodgers don’t seem intent on bringing back Joe Blanton at the moment, pitchers like Alex Wood and Chris Hatcher have to improve their poor form over the last two seasons. Pedro Baez and Grant Dayton must look to continue their success from 2016, and Adam Liberatore has to come back healthy. Newly acquired Vidal Nuno will also be an X-factor this season that can make or break the 2017 season.