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Diving Into The Offseason: A Dozier Extension?

A year ago, the Twins were coming off of a 103-loss season, and all of the talk was about whether or not Brian Dozier would be traded for prospects. A deal was not able to be worked out, and Dozier remained with the Twins.

Things have changed after a 2017 season that saw the Twins win 85 games and make the playoffs for the first time in seven years. With Derek Falvey and Thad Levine preaching long-term, sustainable, championship caliber team as the goal, what will they attempt to do with Brian Dozier this offseason?

To trade, or to sign to a long-term contract? That is the question.
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA Today
Yesterday, Brian Dozier was named the 2017 Twins MVP for the third straight year. He’s coming off of another big season.

With the team’s success in 2017, the idea of trading Brian Dozier would not go over well with the fan base. That, however, is not the ultimate concern for the front office, though it certain will be a factor. However, when the Twins were unable to acquire a sufficient package for Dozier after his 42 home run season, with two more years left on his contract, it’s hard to believe they would get a better offer for one season of Dozier.

If that is the case, then the discussion has to turn to whether or not they should consider attempt to sign him to another long-term contract or let him become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season. Dozier, who turned 30 in May, has averaged 4.5 bWAR and 4.25 fWAR over his five full big league seasons. Over the last two seasons, he’s been worth approximately 5.5 WAR.

In my opinion, an attempt should be made, or at least a conversation should be held regarding an extension for Brian Dozier. So, I thought I’d consider what a long-term extension for Brian Dozier might look like. To do so, I had to look at some of the great second basemen in baseball that have signed in the recent past.

Jose Altuve - The Astros wisely locked in Altuve before the 2014 season. He signed a four year, $12.5 million contract with two option seasons. Assuming the Astros don’t tear up that deal, his option seasons of $6 million and $6.5 million for 2018 and 2019 will be picked up. There is nothing in that deal to compare to Dozier.

A quick look and we’ll see that the four year, $20 million deal gave him deals that lined up nearly identically with the contracts signed at that same time in the careers of Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano.

Starting in 2015, Dozier’s annual salaries have been or will be $2 million, $3 million, $6 million and $9 million.
  • Dustin Pedroia got $1.5 million in 2009, followed by salaries of $3.5 million, $5.5 million, $8 million and then $10 million.
  • Jason Kipnis’s deal started in 2014 and provided salaries of $2 million, $4 million, $6 million and $9 million.
  • Ian Kinslers deal, starting in 2009, gave him salaries of $3 million, $4 million, $6 million and $7 million.
  • Robinson Cano’s deal started in 2008, and he got $3 million, $6 million, $9 million and $10 million (though it started a year later). He also had $14 million and $15 million options picked up in 2012 and 2013.
  • Rougned Odor signed a deal that started in 2017 in which he got $1 million, $3 million, $7.5 million, $9 million, $12 million, $12 million and an option for $13.5 million in 2023.
Of course, in 2023, Odor will be 29 years old. Of this group, Dozier was the eldest as far as when he made the deal. That has to be factored in, but more into the length of the contract, not so much the dollars.

Understanding that Dozier’s deal lined up so closely with so many quality second baseman, it is clear that the next step for us is to look at what type of contract each of those players got following their initial deal. How much did their post-free agent-eligible years cost. Here’s the quick rundown.
  • Dustin Pedroia - The Red Sox second baseman jumped to $12.5 million in 2014, and then was paid $12.5 million, $13.0 million and $15.0 million in the three years since. He still has four years remaining on his contract with salaries of $16 million, $15 million, $13 million and $12 million in 2021 (age 37).
  • Jason Kipnis - Cleveland paid Kipnis $9 million in 2017. He will make $13.5 million in 2018, $14.5 million in 2019 and he has an option for $16.5 million in 2020 (age 33 season) with a $2.5 million buyout.
  • Ian Kinsler - The Tigers second baseman signed his deal back in 2013 while with the Rangers. He made $13 million in 2013, $16 million in 2014 and 2015, $14 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. He has a $10 million option for 2018, his age 36 season, with a $5 million buyout. (It was also a vesting option and because he got over 600 plate appearances in 2017, it was picked up.)
  • Robinson Cano had his options for 2014 and 2015 picked up for a combined $29 million. Of course, he then became a 30-year-old free agent and signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners.
So, what does all that mean for Brian Dozier? Well, it gives us some parameters for an extension. Those All Stars or former All Stars signed similar contracts as when Dozier signed his, and they have signed for several years after when that contract ran out. We have to account for baseball salaries continuing to rise since those deals as well as Dozier’s age as he enters the extension.

Brian Dozier is set to make $9 million in 2018. Using those other contracts as a baseline, here is what I would think a potentially realistic extension for Dozier could look like:

2015 - $2 million
2016 - $3 million
2017 - $6 million
---------------------------------------
2018 - $9 million (unchanged)
---------------------------------------
Signing bonus - $3.5 million (paid in 2018)
2019 - Age 32 - $14.0 million
2020 - Age 33 - $14.5 million
2021 - Age 34 - $15.0 million
2022 - Age 35 - $14.0 million
2023 - Age 36 - $12.0 million (option with a $4 million buyout, which would vest with 600 PA in 2022.)
---------------------------------------

If that is the deal, we are looking at a 4 year, $65 million with an option that could make it a five year, $73 million deal.

2024 would be Dozier’s Age 37 season, so it is likely that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine would prefer a contract extension be more in the three or four year range, maybe even if that means a higher annual salary. They could get creative and put a couple of options on the end of it. They may want to give Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon another year to develop to see what a lineup without Brian Dozier in it looks like for 2019. Also, understanding that they may need to sign some long-term deals in the not-too-distant future with some of the youngsters, they may be more willing to frontload a contract.

Dozier is one year from free agency. If he gets there, and stays healthy, there should be a good market for him. Maybe that would allow him to make a little bit more. At the same time, as a free agent entering his age-32 season, he may not receive more than four year contract offers… or he could get six years.


With all of that at your fingertips, what would you do as it relates to Brian Dozier? Still look to trade him? Let 2018 play out. He’ll become a free agent, and take your chances then. Or, should they spend the offseason discussing a long-term extension to keep him as a leader of the Twins for the foreseeable future?


------------------------------------------------------------------------

COMING SOON! A reminder, Nick Nelson is leading the way in the final steps of creating the Twins Daily Annual Offseason Handbook. Keep checking back next week for many more details. As we have in the past, we'll take a look at what options the Twins may have during the upcoming offseason. Trade Targets. Free Agents. Exclusive articles from the Twins Daily owners only available in the electronic book. Definitely something Twins fans will want at their fingertips.

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85 Comments

Please no,Twins need salary flexability and Dozier will start at age 32, no idea how fast his body will age, but with use of drugs gone, most players will age more quickly.32 should be the start of the decline.

    • Thrylos likes this

The Twins do finally get out of the Mauer contract after this season so they will have money to spend. Depending on how much it would take for a 4-5 year deal.

I'd rather see the Twins use the $ to lock in Sano, Berrios, and Buxton, instead of spending it to extend people who soon will be past their primes.  

So they got to trade him, not extend him.

    • Major Leauge Ready, Platoon, Homer Hanky and 1 other like this

I'd consider 4 years.I compare Brian to Ian Kinsler. And although Kinsler had power this year, his batting average dipped to .236. Usually about age 35 the stats start coming down. Four years would get Brian through age 35.

    • gagu and caninatl04 like this
I don't want much to do with signing him to a multi year deal when he's on the backside of prime. A midmarket team shouldn't be making such deals, especially when they have several young core players to lock up long term and a pitching staff to rebuild. It doesn't make much sense long-term.
    • Thrylos, beckmt, Platoon and 3 others like this
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jorgenswest
Oct 12 2017 07:41 PM
I don’t think it would be wise to give him an extension beyond two years even if that means he gets a boost next year plus two more. He likely wouldn’t take the deal and move on.

Even at two years, I don’t think it is a wise move. Polanco’s best fit is probably 2B.
    • Platoon likes this
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Winston Smith
Oct 12 2017 07:42 PM

IMO no, he'll be 32 next year and with his all or nothing swing it doesn't take much decline to really fall off. He compares a lot with Dan Uggla with the bat and he fell off big after age 32. Might not happen but I think it's very likely.

    • Thrylos, beckmt, Taildragger8791 and 1 other like this

It is funny to me that so often we hear about how people think that because the Twins got a new stadium that they would be able to keep their stars. Brian Dozier is a star, and yet of the first six comments, five of them say to just let him go elsewhere. 

 

And while I understand the thinking for any player over 32, and I get that Polanco can move to 2B and Nick Gordon could be ready for SS in 2019... I wonder if people realize just how good Dozier has been. Even if he takes one WAR off over the next couple of years, there's value in having him the next couple of years. 

 

I would LOVE to see them sign him to just a two-year extension, but there's no reason for him to do that. Are you going to get 4 WAR out of Polanco or Gordon in 2019 and 2020? Will you get that between the two of them? I don't know...

 

I'm not saying that the answer 100% is to sign him to an extension... but I don't think the answer can be not to just because he is going to be 32 (or 35 at the end). 

    • Cory Engelhardt, LA VIkes Fan, curt1965 and 7 others like this
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Homer Hanky
Oct 12 2017 08:06 PM

I love the idea of signing for 2 years... because i think they will rush Lewis and for good reason... 

 

with lewis at SS what do they do with Gordon and Palonco and Dozier? 

 

Trade someone to get to starting pitching... 

 

thots?

 

 

It is funny to me that so often we hear about how people think that because the Twins got a new stadium that they would be able to keep their stars. Brian Dozier is a star, and yet of the first six comments, five of them say to just let him go elsewhere. 

 

And while I understand the thinking for any player over 32, and I get that Polanco can move to 2B and Nick Gordon could be ready for SS in 2019... I wonder if people realize just how good Dozier has been. Even if he takes one WAR off over the next couple of years, there's value in having him the next couple of years. 

 

I would LOVE to see them sign him to just a two-year extension, but there's no reason for him to do that. Are you going to get 4 WAR out of Polanco or Gordon in 2019 and 2020? Will you get that between the two of them? I don't know...

 

I'm not saying that the answer 100% is to sign him to an extension... but I don't think the answer can be not to just because he is going to be 32 (or 35 at the end). 

 

It is funny to me that so often we hear about how people think that because the Twins got a new stadium that they would be able to keep their stars. Brian Dozier is a star, and yet of the first six comments, five of them say to just let him go elsewhere.

And while I understand the thinking for any player over 32, and I get that Polanco can move to 2B and Nick Gordon could be ready for SS in 2019... I wonder if people realize just how good Dozier has been. Even if he takes one WAR off over the next couple of years, there's value in having him the next couple of years.

I would LOVE to see them sign him to just a two-year extension, but there's no reason for him to do that. Are you going to get 4 WAR out of Polanco or Gordon in 2019 and 2020? Will you get that between the two of them? I don't know...

I'm not saying that the answer 100% is to sign him to an extension... but I don't think the answer can be not to just because he is going to be 32 (or 35 at the end).


Like it or not, the Twins operate under a self imposed salary cap.
This club needs pitching, and pitching is expensive.
It's hard to imagine a scenario where this extension doesn't interfere with purchasing pitching.

It's not as black and white as simply wanting him to stay or not.
    • beckmt, Taildragger8791, hugelycat and 2 others like this

How close is the next 2B? Who is the next 2B? if the brain trust thinks that the next 2B is ready in 2020, offer Dozier the qualifying offer, if he takes it great, if not, hope the kid is ready or put Adrianza out there as a stop gap.

 

Also remember that Dozier, Mauer, and Santana are all free agents after 2018 (team has option on Santana), lots of freedom to build this team.

    • ThejacKmp and caninatl04 like this
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ashburyjohn
Oct 12 2017 08:13 PM

And while I understand the thinking for any player over 32, and I get that Polanco can move to 2B and Nick Gordon could be ready for SS in 2019... I wonder if people realize just how good Dozier has been.

I would be happy if merely the people who have GM jobs realize how just good Dozier has been, and make a commensurate trade offer. This is exactly what didn't happen last off-season. If Gordon's ready and Polanco slides over, the Twins are a better team with the return Dozier would bring, hopefully pitching of course. Let the next team decide the terms of the contract extension.

    • jorgenswest, mnfireman, big dog and 1 other like this

A 3 year deal is not unreasonable. Dozier's value comes from power, not speed. Power goes later than speed. An added year might be dead money, might not. Cano is going strong at 34. Dozier doesn't have an injury history that pushes the age curve down.The jinx of the Twins extending a contract is another matter, as it seems like once they sign an extension the player gets a hard object to the head, arm goes haywire.....

 

    • Otwins, curt1965 and gagu like this

3 years would make sense if they can pull it off. There is somewhat of a glut of good 2b and he is pretty much at his peak now, so perhaps it would make sense for Dozier to take the deal.

 

How close is the next 2B? Who is the next 2B? if the brain trust thinks that the next 2B is ready in 2020, offer Dozier the qualifying offer, if he takes it great, if not, hope the kid is ready or put Adrianza out there as a stop gap.

 

Also remember that Dozier, Mauer, and Santana are all free agents after 2018 (team has option on Santana), lots of freedom to build this team.

 

Next 2B... just keep tabs on all of the shortstops in the organization... Polanco, Gordon would appear to be next in line, in some combination.

This does need to get resolved.I would like to see a three year extension.Once that is secured you could trade Polanco or Gordon for pitching.They are younger, cheaper have more control and may bring back a better pitcher than Dozier if the team we are trading with is rebuilding.  

 

Like it or not, the Twins operate under a self imposed salary cap.
This club needs pitching, and pitching is expensive.
It's hard to imagine a scenario where this extension doesn't interfere with purchasing pitching.

It's not as black and white as simply wanting him to stay or not.

 

Like all but maybe 2-3 teams on either side, the Twins stay between 47 and 51% of revenues for their salaries. 

    • KGB and RaymondLuxuryYacht like this

Do not underestimate his love for the club and what he brings to the clubhouse as a leader, guiding the young guns. I would love to have him back for four, five years, in the two hole, giving more relevance to his homers.

    • bluechipper and caninatl04 like this
I was thinking 5 years and 65 to 75 million is what its going to take to sign him.

 

It is funny to me that so often we hear about how people think that because the Twins got a new stadium that they would be able to keep their stars. Brian Dozier is a star, and yet of the first six comments, five of them say to just let him go elsewhere. 

 

And while I understand the thinking for any player over 32, and I get that Polanco can move to 2B and Nick Gordon could be ready for SS in 2019... I wonder if people realize just how good Dozier has been. Even if he takes one WAR off over the next couple of years, there's value in having him the next couple of years. 

 

I would LOVE to see them sign him to just a two-year extension, but there's no reason for him to do that. Are you going to get 4 WAR out of Polanco or Gordon in 2019 and 2020? Will you get that between the two of them? I don't know...

 

I'm not saying that the answer 100% is to sign him to an extension... but I don't think the answer can be not to just because he is going to be 32 (or 35 at the end). 

Its not that I don't recognize how good Dozier has been, because I know how good he's been.That's why I wanted him dealt for pitching.I'm looking from a big picture aspect.I think it's reasonable for him to seek a 4 year deal and he'll get paid handsomely with it.A midmarket team can't really afford to sign a guy to a deal like that and then still try to extend young and emerging core players like this team has and then still build most of a pitching staff.I want to do what I can to keep Buxton, Sano and Berrios and if that costs me one Dozier, then so be it.The previously mentioned three should be in a Twins uniform long past Dozier.For me, it has less to do with Dozier's age as it does keeping the young core together.

    • Thrylos, beckmt and spinowner like this
I like me some Doz, but I think you gotta let him walk after '18.
    • Dman likes this
I gotta say, the grass isn’t always greener. Dozier is putting up 4+ WAR and has turned himself into a dangerous hitter. Who knows if Polanco and Gordon will ever reach that. But the other thing to consider is that we also don’t have a real DH (assuming Sano can stick and 3B or slide to 1B in 2019). If one of Gordon or Polanco can prove to handle short and the other 2B then Dozier becomes a solid option for DH as his defense declines. That said, 3 year extension for me.
    • Seth Stohs, PDX Twin, kellyvance and 4 others like this
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Cory Engelhardt
Oct 13 2017 06:51 AM

I think you do have to consider the idea of an extension. Dozier has been really amazing, and the part of baseball when it comes to salary is you ALWAYS pay for the production that has already happened, rather than the potential production ahead, at least with 2nd contracts (in my opinion.)

 

Dozier still has at least a few good years ahead of him. I believe that more after this year than I did even after the 42 homerun season a year ago, mostly because he started to show power to all fields rather than just as a pull hitter.

 

I also like how you pointed out that Dozier didn't get great offers for trade after this past offseason. I do believe that if 2-3 teams had been in the market for a 2nd baseman a trade would have been made. But if the Dodgers were the only team talking trade last offseason, the deal/offer that was necessary to move Dozier never was put on the table. And a good-enough offer with only 1 year left for Dozier isn't going to be there this offseason. If you are trading him now, you are basically selling him for less than his value to the Twins for 2018. And Gordon certainly isn't ready to start the year with the MLB club is he?

 

I would rip up his 2018 contract and offer a 3 year extension with an option spanning the years of 2018, 2019, 2020 and the option year of 2021 that would trigger with games played. I would offer him a higher salary (18, 18, 17 and an option year for 15 million) and hope that he takes it. If he does, GREAT! If his agent comes back and demands 4 years with an option (so, 6 more years potentially) I would have a hard time agreeing to that, but the salary would be lower per year more than likely, (say 14, 15, 15, 14 and option year or 13) and the option year would probably not have a huge buyout number.

 

That said, if the agent comes out and demands a 5 year deal for 18-20 per season, (which he has earned if you are paying for past production) I probably do go into 2018 being the last year of his deal and plan to offer him the QO after this upcoming season. Then he has another year if he agrees to the QO, or the Twins get a draft pick for him. We'll see.

 

Thanks for the write-up Seth. Much appreciated!

 

    • gagu, MN_ExPat and VirginSturgeon like this

I think the Twins front office for now needs to keep the same strategy as last year: Dozier is a star player and team leader, and they should be willing to trade him but only for an appropriate package of prospects.Teams (specifically the Dodgers) were trying to do a 1:1 of a AAA MLB-ready player, and that just shouldn't cut it.

 

More than likely, because Dozier only has 1 year left on his contract, other teams won't be willing to trade a nice package, and he'll play for us again next year.I was more interested in dumping Dozier after the 100-loss season on a rebuilding team. But with the great turnaround this year, for a transitioning team with lots of young, upcoming talent, Dozier is now REALLY important to have on this team.Falvine and Levine really value veteran presence.Wouldn't you rather have a veteran that can be the team MVP, as opposed to someone like Chris Gimenez or Matt Belisle?

 

Looking long-term after next year, I guess it starts with asking Dozier whether he wants to remain a career Twin.I personally don't think Dozier fits with this team a couple years out.It just doesn't make much sense to have a 33-year old second baseman making $15M/year on a mid-market team.

    • Cory Engelhardt likes this

I think it all depends on what the FO thinks of Gordon and/or Polanco.

 

I'd do it as the price you listed, but I wonder if that's enough. Qualifying offer is $18mil this year. It seems like Dozier is worth that, compared to other players on the market.


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