With pitchers and catchers soon reporting to Spring Training, the 2018 season is rapidly approaching.
The most notable move of the off-season for the Dodgers was the trade for Matt Kemp, most significantly the shedding of the burdensome contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, and Brandon McCarthy. The move was one that seems to be designed with a look ahead to the vaunted end of the year free agency class.
The Dodgers have put themselves in position to resign Clayton Kershaw, should he opt out of his contract, and possibly retain Yasiel Puig who has finally begun to live up to the incredible skill set Dodger fans have long waited for.
But with a historic class open before them, the question remains who would be the best fit for the roster as it is currently constructed. Although there have been rumors that the Dodgers may consider breaking the bank for perennial MVP candidate Bryce Harper, do not be surprised to see them focus their attention on Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins.
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You may recall that the Dodgers engaged in trade talks with the Twins prior to the 2017 season, but ultimately found the Twins asking price too high and settled for Logan Forsythe of the Tampa Bay Rays. Forsythe struggled for much of 2017, but after a strong September and postseason, saw his option picked up for this year. But Forsythe will be a free agent as well after this season and in Dozier, second base could be filled by the right-handed power bat the Dodgers have long coveted.
Over the last two years, Dozier has averaged 38 HRs and 96 RBIs while playing solid defense, including a career-best .993 fielding percentage and his first Gold Glove last year. With superstars like Harper and Manny Machado at the top of most GM’s wish lists, Dozier could be undervalued and landed for a more affordable price.
Dozier’s 11 HRs and .331 average in only 145 ABs versus left-handed pitchers, and 23 HRs against righties made him a difficult out last year and would be ideal protection behind Cody Bellinger in a powerful Dodger lineup. Signing Dozier would allow Chris Taylor to remain in center field, with left field manned by a combination of Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernandez, Trayce Thompson, and Matt Kemp should they keep him.
The Dodgers could use their surplus of outfielders to aid in Dave Roberts’ maneuverability and resting of players throughout the season, or as in the case of highly touted prospect Alex Verdugo, as the centerpiece in another significant mid or off-season trade.