Dodgers Acquire Brian Dozier and John Axford from Twins and Jays

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Brian Dozier
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Brian Dozier /

The Dodgers have made their first move on deadline day to acquire Minnesota Twins’ second baseman, Brian Dozier. The Dodgers will send Logan Forsythe and prospects, Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer to the Twins.

Trading for Brian Dozier has been a long time coming. Trade talks for the now 30-year old infielder started prior to the 2017 season when the Dodgers were in need of a second baseman and Dozier fit the bill. But, the hold up began when the Twins would not trade Dozier for the offered return of Yadier Alvarez and Jose de Leon. De Leon would ultimately go to the Rays for Logan Forsythe who was included in today’s Dozier trade.

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After a long time coming, the Dodgers got their second baseman who is hitting .224 this year with 16 homers and 52 RBIs in 2018. His also has a 91 OPS+ a number that is not super attractive but could easily improve in a better lineup and atmosphere than Minnesota. Dozier, who is known as a slugger, has hit 143 homers in the last five years, 38 more than the next best second baseman.

The move is a good one as it puts together an almost indestructible infield. Justin Turner, when he is healthy, will be able to start at third base, Machado at short, Dozier at second, and Muncy at first. The move will make Cody Bellinger a regular outfielder unless they want to bench Max Muncy.

What the move also did for LA is bring them back under the luxury tax. The move will slip them under the tax by about $5 million.

The return for Dozier was perfect. The Dodgers gave up veteran, Logan Forsythe, in the deal and is easily the biggest story in the trade.

Forsythe was acquired in 2017 to be the “next best thing” after the Dodgers failed to acquire Dozier from the twins. In 2017, he was a disappointment as he hit just .224 with six homers and 36 RBIs in 439 ABs. When he wasn’t playing, Forsythe battled a few injuries over the course of the season and this year, 2018 was no better.

In 2018, Forsythe has been abysmal. His .207 batting average and -.6 WAR have been as far from productive as you can get. His contract for almost $8 million made the number look even worse and when the Dodgers traded Forsythe for a similarly priced player at the same position the move was a good one.

In addition to Forsythe, the Dodgers shipped Devin Smeltzer to the Twins. Smeltzer was the story of the preseason not necessarily because of his defense but because of his story. Smeltzer had cancer when he was 10 years old and during his battle for his life, he made it clear that baseball would never fade from being his passion. As a young Phillies fan, Smeltzer’s only wish was to meet Chase Utley and he was granted that wish. 10-years later, Smeltzer and Utley met each other for the second time but this time, they were wearing the same uniform and playing from the same clubhouse.

The Dodgers also included Luke Raley, a minor league infielder in the deal.

This trade was a good one but acquiring a reliever is the next priority and the Dodgers have done that in a deal for John Axford. In return for Axford, the Dodgers will give up Corey Copping. Copping is not even a top-30 prospect for the team and Axford, a 35-year old relief pitcher from Toronto is really not a needle-mover for LA.

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In 2018, Axford has a 4.41 ERA, a 1.255 WHIP, a 97 ERA+, and an 8.8 K9 rate. A change of scenery could go a long way for Axford but until he proves he’s made a change, the move is not a great one for an older player.