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Dozier Staying With Twins Will Create More Questions Than Answers

The most recent rumors suggest the Brian Dozier trade watch will be mercifully coming to an end sometime within the week, one way or another. While there's been plenty of great analysis around potential trades, the fallout of Dozier staying with the Twins could be equally interesting.

From just a roster construction standpoint, the immediate question would be what do you do with Jorge Polanco? He's best suited to play second base, and while he wasn't a train wreck at shortstop last season, putting him next to Miguel Sano everyday would give the Twins an infield defense that would give the pitching staff nightmares. Neither player has appropriate range for his position. Putting them on the same side of the infield is difficult to watch at times.

I've been a proponent of just letting Sano DH full time, but it doesn't sound like that's the plan, which is understandable. Sano certainly has the arm for third, showed some surprising agility last season and is still just 23-years-old. So we'll assume now that Trevor Plouffe is out of the picture Sano is locked in at the hot corner.

Eduardo Escobar is still around as an option at shortstop, but putting him there would make Polanco a backup/utility player. That's not an ideal role for the 23-year-old's development. Polanco is out of options, so sending him to the minors for further seasoning/everyday reps is not, unfortunately, on the table.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today
So it appears Dozier staying would create a situation that somewhat resembles the roster crunch of 2016 that resulted in Sano being sent to the outfield. One way or another, somebody would have to play out of their ideal position. Unlike Sano with right field, I suppose at least Polanco is familiar with playing shortstop.

If Dozier stays the next question becomes what exactly are the Twins trying to do?

If Dozier is traded, it would signal the Twins are rebuilding. If he stays, where does that put the organization? Just kinda trying to hang in there, I guess? Who wants that? What's the point?

From a philosophical standpoint, Dozier staying puts the Twins in this weird limbo where they're not rebuilding but also not trying to complete. If they were rebuilding, both Dozier and Ervin Santana would be traded for prospects. If they were contending, the front office would make an effort to beef up the pitching staff and maybe add one more veteran bat.

From strictly a short-term perspective, of course I want to see Dozier play for the Twins in 2017. His development is the biggest success story of the organization over the past five years, and he just continues to get better.

But from the long-term view, I'd really love to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. The last six seasons have been rough. Watching the Cubs and Astros turn things around over the same span pours salt on the wound. How many more teams are we going to see do successful tear downs before the Twins are good again?

There can be no more standing at the crossroads trying to decide which way to go. The Twins need to either commit to a rebuild and set their sights toward 2020 or try to dial things up for a championship run in 2018.

I'm okay with Brian Dozier staying, but his presence on the team would need to also signal a shift in philosophy.

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49 Comments

He pretty much has to move given his contract status, his age, our pitching staff, and his streaky play.
    • Jerr, Doomtints, Vanimal46 and 2 others like this

It has been proven that teams can go from worst to first.  Why can't the Twins?

An enormous number of things would have to go right. Mostly the pitching. But why can't Dozier be the cornerstone of the Twins hitting.  He hits for power and he still has speed and he has more experience than the rest of the infielders.  Keeping Dozier is a sign that the Twins have a chance to be a winning team in '17. And he's cheap :)

    • gunnarthor, sploorp and Tom Froemming like this

It has been proven that teams can go from worst to first.  Why can't the Twins?
An enormous number of things would have to go right. Mostly the pitching. But why can't Dozier be the cornerstone of the Twins hitting.  He hits for power and he still has speed and he has more experience than the rest of the infielders.  Keeping Dozier is a sign that the Twins have a chance to be a winning team in '17. And he's cheap :)

i don't have enough confidence in the staff to improve as drastically as it needs to (by doing nothing). They've been a bottom five staff for five out of the last six years. It's just not working. They need 2-3 more SP's to right this ship. Those SP's may already be in our system, but I wouldn't bank on it.
    • Cory Engelhardt, chpettit19, SF Twins Fan and 3 others like this
The roster as is features a bad rotation, bad pen, and poor infield defense.

Nothing about this will allow a worst to first move.
    • Cory Engelhardt, Platoon, chpettit19 and 4 others like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Jan 05 2017 09:52 PM
Do otherteams with 90+ losses in 5 of the last 6 seasons and 100+ losses last season have the same roster crunch problems the Twins have? It doesn't compute.
    • Platoon, chpettit19, wsnydes and 1 other like this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 05 2017 10:06 PM

 

Do otherteams with 90+ losses in 5 of the last 6 seasons and 100+ losses last season have the same roster crunch problems the Twins have? It doesn't compute.

Nope. Other organizations move veterans to make room for their young players. I don't think there's another team in baseball that would have both kept a player like Plouffe and signed Park to obstruct Sano prior to last year.

 

Also, other teams don't unnecessarily burn their prospect's option years. Absolutely no reason Polanco needed to be called up in '14 & '15 to play a combined nine games. If he still had options it would be perfectly acceptable to send him back to Triple-A to start this season. Polanco's still only 23, I think Dozier hadn't even made it to Double-A by that age (obviously college guys and international guys are different, but still). 

    • Mike Sixel, chpettit19, wsnydes and 1 other like this
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KirbyDome89
Jan 05 2017 11:39 PM

 

It has been proven that teams can go from worst to first.  Why can't the Twins?

An enormous number of things would have to go right. 

I think you just answered your own question. 

    • Thrylos, Oldgoat_MN, Taildragger8791 and 1 other like this

I see nothing wrong with having some infield depth.And I see no reason to trade Dozier just to say they are continuing to rebuild, as the article reads.It seems simple enough to me, if the Dodgers don't up the ante, you roll with Polanco at SS and Dozier at 2B with Escobar playing some at SS and 3B.  

    • Dantes929 and sploorp like this
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The Wise One
Jan 06 2017 05:39 AM

 

It has been proven that teams can go from worst to first.  Why can't the Twins?

An enormous number of things would have to go right. Mostly the pitching. But why can't Dozier be the cornerstone of the Twins hitting.  He hits for power and he still has speed and he has more experience than the rest of the infielders.  Keeping Dozier is a sign that the Twins have a chance to be a winning team in '17. And he's cheap :)

The only thing that really,  really needs to go right is the baseball when the Twins are on defense. When the ball is going left it could be a disaster

    • Tom Froemming and CiabanItReal like this

Nope. Other organizations move veterans to make room for their young players. I don't think there's another team in baseball that would have both kept a player like Plouffe and signed Park to obstruct Sano prior to last year.
 
Also, other teams don't unnecessarily burn their prospect's option years. Absolutely no reason Polanco needed to be called up in '14 & '15 to play a combined nine games. If he still had options it would be perfectly acceptable to send him back to Triple-A to start this season. Polanco's still only 23, I think Dozier hadn't even made it to Double-A by that age (obviously college guys and international guys are different, but still).


Polanco will be a player and he's a second baseman. Goodbye Dozier

As you said, make room for younger players and bring a couple more for Dozier. We are keeping Dozier and I this is non move we might regret. I felt the same way in 2013 when we extended our "elite closer" instead of trading him

Also, other teams don't unnecessarily burn their prospect's option years. Absolutely no reason Polanco needed to be called up in '14 & '15 to play a combined nine games. If he still had options it would be perfectly acceptable to send him back to Triple-A to start this season. Polanco's still only 23, I think Dozier hadn't even made it to Double-A by that age (obviously college guys and international guys are different, but still).

Polanco had to be added to the 40-man roster and was using options anyway (players on the 40 man have to be optioned just to be assigned to the minors out of spring training) -- the Twins didn't burn them with those brief call-ups.

They actually bungled the timing of his minor league assignments during the 2010 season which left him ineligible for a 4th option year, but that is a different issue.

I suppose you could also make the argument that they should have given him more MLB time during his option years, but I suspect they felt they already knew what they had in him so it wasn't a big concern.
    • Mike Sixel, VOMG, Shaitan and 1 other like this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 06 2017 08:06 AM

 

Polanco had to be added to the 40-man roster and was using options anyway (players on the 40 man have to be optioned just to be assigned to the minors out of spring training) -- the Twins didn't burn them with those brief call-ups.

They actually bungled the timing of his minor league assignments during the 2010 season which left him ineligible for a 4th option year, but that is a different issue.

I suppose you could also make the argument that they should have given him more MLB time during his option years, but I suspect they felt they already knew what they had in him so it wasn't a big concern.

You are correct, excuse my ignorance. I remembered that scenario incorrectly and didn't bother to look it up. Polanco had to be added to the 40-man in Nov. 2013 in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, so they would have burned an option year regardless of whether or not he got a call up. 

Polanco is an example "of the tail wagging the dog". He isn't elite (or even close) and will never be "the next Kirby Puckett" carrying the team to peak performance. Whatever happens to Polanco is merely anecdotal; forget him!

 

Trading Dozier for useful value--Yes! But, the new management must demonstrate the necessary resolve in this, their first trade, or forever be dismissed as weak. If that means delay--so be it. The era of "two-way trades" may be over. It might be that trades are either "dumps" or "vast overpays". Teams will be reshaped via the drafts or free agency.

    • Dantes929, Kepler Verge and Tom Froemming like this

The idea that a 103 loss team can have a "roster crunch" or possibly compete for a championship this year are the exact reasons they've been so terrible for the last 6 years (minus one fluke year).

 

Robbie Grossman, JJ Hardy*, Phil Hughes, Kendrys Morales*, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Ervin Santana**, Brian Dozier**, Kurt Suzuki, Josh Willingham

 

List of guys off the top of my head that either weren't traded while having a career year or just plain being a heck of a trade piece on a team going nowhere (1 decent prospect for any of them not named Perkins would have been better than keeping them while we continued to suck), *were traded, but were traded at the bottom of their value for pieces that had absolutely no chance of ever being a piece on a championship team, or **are current pieces of an awful team that haven't been traded despite the fact that the team will continue to struggle in the near future. Yes, I realize a Dozier trade is a possibility, but with this terrible free agent pitching class it is a perfect time to shop Ervin and I haven't seen any reliable reports that the Twins have even considered it strongly.

 

The Twins need 4 starting pitchers to compete. Some of them may already be in the system, but other than Ervin there isn't a starting pitcher on the staff from last year that would pitch in the postseason for a true contender. The Twins have refused to be realistic about themselves or were just really, really, really bad about assessing their ability to compete with other major league baseball teams.

 

The White Sox have possibly already passed the Twins in the rebuild timeline and it took them 2 days and 2 trades. The Twins didn't have a Chris Sale to trade in the last few years, but they had veteran guys who could have brought back at least 1 very good prospect. And they had Glen Perkins closing games on a 90 loss team for years. He could have brought back multiple nice pieces. Now the Twins have put themselves back in the crappy situation of being in the middle of the pack for the next hand full of years if Buxton and Sano turn out. We have more solid prospects coming up, but they won't just step in and be big time major league players who are able to compete for championships. By the time we have 25 guys who can help compete for a title it'll be time to start talking about what we can get for Buxton and Sano (assuming they do become who they could). Playing the "we're trying to compete this year" game when you have no realistic chance to compete is the worst possible strategy and it's been our strategy for a decade. Everyone points at the Cubs and Astros as teams who rebuilt right. And they were awful, completely awful, for a few years because they traded every veteran for prospects. Now the White Sox are doing it. Until the Twins are willing to be real with themselves and trade guys who won't be around or helping when they are realistically going to be able to compete they will stick in the middle and go nowhere. You need to get good value for Dozier and his streakiness has made it hard to trade him the last few years, but you need to trade him before this year's trade deadline.

 

As for a roster crunch...there's no such thing on a 103 loss team or a team that's lost 90+ in 5 of the last 6 years.. That's a ridiculous idea. It is possible to have a terribly run franchise that is WAY too loyal to average (at best) veterans at the expense of younger, better players. That isn't a roster crunch, though. It's just poor management of assets.

 

 

 

    • Thrylos, Oldgoat_MN, wsnydes and 1 other like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 06 2017 04:27 PM

I'd strongly suggest carefully wording titles in the future.On the forums section, this is shortened to...

 

Article: Dozier staying with Tw...

 

Let's just say that was a surprise when I saw it yesterday :)

    • ashburyjohn, Oldgoat_MN and Tom Froemming like this

Rebuild and contention are not mutually exclusive. Problem if we move Dozier is we need to replace his offensive production and we still need a shortstop. If we keep Dozier I am fine with Polanco there. If we  move him our pitching better be at least one step (DeLeon) and potentially two (Alvarez) closer to contending. Santana, DeLeon, Berrios and May are not a bad core, IMO.  

    • Tom Froemming likes this
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ashburyjohn
Jan 06 2017 06:35 PM

If we keep Dozier I am fine with Polanco there.   

It's what one realistically does. But I'm not fine with it.

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Nick Nelson
Jan 06 2017 06:44 PM

 

Trading Dozier for useful value--Yes! But, the new management must demonstrate the necessary resolve in this, their first trade, or forever be dismissed as weak.

Well said. I think this is a really important dynamic. For better or worse, this could easily be the defining trade for this regime, with long-lasting implications.

    • spinowner, Tom Froemming and BuxtonBandwagon like this
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ashburyjohn
Jan 06 2017 06:54 PM

this could easily be the defining trade for this regime, with long-lasting implications.

In more ways than one. What are the odds Falvey and Levine haven't already had major disagreements on how to proceed on this lengthy decision?

    • Tom Froemming likes this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 06 2017 07:09 PM

 

I'd strongly suggest carefully wording titles in the future.On the forums section, this is shortened to...

 

Article: Dozier staying with Tw...

 

Let's just say that was a surprise when I saw it yesterday :)

Haha! Gotcha! 

 

Just kidding, will do. Hopefully this was still worth your time.

    • diehardtwinsfan, Riverbrian and Oldgoat_MN like this

If we keep Dozier, it answers more questions ....

Dozier should hit 3, not 1. Too many homers are solos. Bux needs to learn the leadoff position, or else Polanco gets it.

Mauer should hit 2. 

Sano 4, Kepler 5 and on and on.

I am ok with the Twins keeping Dozier. 

No reason they can't play better this year. Nowhere to go but up

 

 

But I don't understand why so many people think acquiring a couple pitching prospect is the answer. The Twins have plenty of pitching prospects. Same goes for Ervin. He is the only starter that we could ever pair up with another teams's #1 and have any hope of winning. Again, he is a proven. 

 

I don't see how you improve by trading your best power bat and best pitcher. 

    • sploorp likes this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 07 2017 01:26 PM

If we keep Dozier, it answers more questions ....
Dozier should hit 3, not 1. Too many homers are solos. Bux needs to learn the leadoff position, or else Polanco gets it.
Mauer should hit 2. 
Sano 4, Kepler 5 and on and on.
I am ok with the Twins keeping Dozier. 
No reason they can't play better this year. Nowhere to go but up
 
 
But I don't understand why so many people think acquiring a couple pitching prospect is the answer. The Twins have plenty of pitching prospects. Same goes for Ervin. He is the only starter that we could ever pair up with another teams's #1 and have any hope of winning. Again, he is a proven. 
 
I don't see how you improve by trading your best power bat and best pitcher.


You wouldn't improve the 2017 roster. The hope would be that the outlook for 2019 and beyond would be greatly improved with additional young talent.
    • Oldgoat_MN, Vanimal46, wsnydes and 1 other like this

 

 


"But I don't understand why so many people think acquiring a couple pitching prospect is the answer. The Twins have plenty of pitching prospects."

 

 

Not all pitching prospects are created equal. 

    • Mike Sixel, DJSim22, Vanimal46 and 3 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 07 2017 02:54 PM

 

Haha! Gotcha! 

 

Just kidding, will do. Hopefully this was still worth your time.

 

Oh it was... just a minor heart attack.

    • Riverbrian and Tom Froemming like this

I don't think keeping Dozier creates more questions, it just brings about different questions. In the long run, are the Twins probably better off trading Dozier for a nice pitching haul even though young prospects are still just that? Yes. Am i still in favor of trading him? Yes.

 

But I have to confess that while I certainly don't see the Twins challenging for anything in 2017, I also dont believe the overall talent on the club is another 100 loss team. There are issues here, of course, and starting pitching is the biggest. But when I look at this team, and reflect on it WITH Dozier on board, there are thoughts that come to mind:

 

1} The young nucleus of talent that is Sano, Rosario, Buxton, Kepler and Polanco is intriguing to say the least. There is room for a lot of growth and development there, but also exciting young talent and potential. Dozier and Sano in the heart of a lineup with these guys could be fun.

 

2} Questions remain about the left side of the infield defense, but I actually feel pretty good about every other spot. I could see a sort of rotation of Polanco, Sano and Escobar on the left side, with time off for Dozier on occassion, with some fingers crossed. But could the left side be any worse than last season? Could it improve even a little bit with time and experience?

 

3} I hate playing the "what if" game...but...IF Hughes can prove healthy and ready to go at some point, with Santana and Santiago and a healthy and rebounding Gibson with May and Berrios, etc...well...it could be and has been worse yes? There is potential with May and Berrios and potential help on the way at both AAA and AA.

 

4} Could a smart addition to the back end of the bullpen deepen and improve said pen...again with help on the way...to help offset and bolster the rotation?

 

No rose colored glasses here. I'm just saying, there is young talent to work with here, more on the way, and a couple solid veterans at least. And every time we make an argument for the value of Dozier in all of the trade threads, we have to remember that all the positives we speak of in regard to him would belong to us if he stays.

    • Blake, Riverbrian, beckmt and 2 others like this

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