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A Re-Do On Dozier For Minnesota

Not all contracts are created equal, and for the most part, it’s simple to see whether a deal worked out or whether it didn’t. In Twins Territory, Joe Mauer’s mega contract is generally a lightning pole of debate. In responding to such debates, my go to is generally that new contracts are negotiated based on past performance and belief in future production. For Brian Dozier, it’s fair to look back and wonder what if for Minnesota.
Image courtesy of © Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
At the time of his deal, a four-year, $20 million pact, Dozier looked like a manageable extension for an up-and-coming second basemen. My initial thoughts were that both sides came out for the better, but that the Twins could find themselves getting bitten in the end by not buying into his free agent years. Here we are now, approaching the 2018 season, and Dozier is unsigned going into 2019. If the Twins could do it all over again, I’m not certain a six-year deal wouldn’t have made more sense.

Dating back to 2013, only the Houston Astros Jose Altuve has posted a higher fWAR (23.9) than the Twins two-bagger. Dozier is the only second basemen with more than 100 (127) homers in that time, and the next closest player is the Seattle Mariners Robinson Cano (97). Dozier’s walk rate is second among players at the position with at least 1,500 plate appearances in that span, and his wOBA is fourth, trailing only Altuve, Daniel Murphy and Cano. In short, since becoming a big league regular in 2013, he’s been no worse than a top three second basemen in the entire game.

Over the life of his current contract (2015 onward), Dozier has been worth 14.1 fWAR. To date, he’s been paid just $11 million of the total $20 million deal (leaving $9 million for 2018). In terms of dollars, Fangraphs quantifies his production having been worth $113.1 million through the life of his contract. By that metric alone, the Twins have recouped over ten times their investment in the player that the Southern Mississippi star has become.

In 2018, Dozier will be playing at the age of 31, meaning he’ll hit free agency at 32. Thus far in his career, he has 1,249 games under his belt in the professional ranks. He’s played at least 147 of the possible 162 games in a season dating back to 2013, and his durability is something that’s been noted plenty. Going forward, it’s fair to question whether or not that level of availability will stick with him. As a late-blooming prospect however, his prime appears to have fallen further into his time in the big leagues.

There’s no doubt that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will have some positional juggling to do in 2018 and beyond, but having Dozier force the situation could’ve been in the best interest of the hometown nine. It’s uncertain as to whether or not Jorge Polanco can stick at shortstop, and there’s a question as to how long Miguel Sano can play third base. We don’t know what Nick Gordon, Wander Javier or Royce Lewis will produce, and it’s hard to pinpoint exact readiness regarding any number of these scenarios. What’s probably more than fair to assume however, is that right now, Minnesota would likely prefer to not have to be making the Dozier decision. Had the former regime offered a contract to age 33 or 34, the dollars would’ve risen some in exchange for free agent years, but the Twins current decisions would likely be much simpler.

As things stand, the Dozier camp and Minnesota enter 2018 with what I’d presume to be two separate ideas of what’s next. The Twins preference should be along the lines of a two or three year deal to avoid hitting the skids on the back end. As an older free agent, Dozier can likely see this is his last opportunity to cash in, and a five or six year offering would be mighty enticing.

Nothing over the past handful of seasons has suggested that regression is coming for the Twins All-Star second basemen. He’s among the best power hitters in the game, and he does it at a position not otherwise known for that kind of production. If Dozier puts up the “contract year boost” the numbers could be otherworldly, and the Twins would certainly stand to benefit.

Whatever happens, I think the takeaway here is that while hindsight may be 20/20, a bit more commitment up front will look like a good thing. Dozier is going to have the Twins asking some tough questions of themselves at whatever point they begin to negotiate, and at this stage in the game, it’s hard to know if anyone has the definitive answers.

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55 Comments

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tarheeltwinsfan
Dec 28 2017 09:24 PM

Extend Dozier for a fair price for 5 more years. He epitomizes the veteran presence we read about that the Twins youngsters need. By all accounts, he is a good man. Public relations is important to a business. Dozier will probably never embarrass the Twins'FO or fans. 

    • Twinsrule1991 likes this
If I remember correctly the previous administration tried to get an extra year or two tacked on. But Dozier wouldnt sign for that because that would affect his chance at a big payday.
    • Otwins, Sconnie, KGB and 1 other like this
A 5 year 14 to 16 million per season should work.
I’m not sure I follow the logic here. All we know right now is that the Twins have gotten way more value out of Dozier over the past few years than what they paid for. That’s an A+ by any scoring system.

He might have a terrible 2019 - 2020 and, had the Twins bought out those two additional years, the extension would be merely okay or potentially bad.

As it stands, they’ve gotten incredible returns for their investment. At least from late-July through September. Let’s not forget that from April through mid-July of the past two years, Dozier’s been pretty bad at the plate.
    • GV14218 likes this

Not sure I'd go 5 years on Dozier, but I'd definitely go 3 at $15 per. Maybe add a mutual option or two if it helps get the deal done.

 

We're seeing a lot of guys tail off and/or break down around 34-35, particularly those that play all-out. I think Dozier would qualify for that.

 

 

    • Tom Froemming likes this

No need to talk extension for Dozier. If he wants to stay here it shouldn't matter if he signs an extension now or does after the season. Joe Mauer's extension killed this organization in my mind. He had no desire to leave the comfort of Minnesota. Especially the fact of no pressure from the media like he would have got from New York or Boston.

 

So don't make the same mistake with Dozier. The Twins have options at 2nd base so please wait until after the season for a new contract.

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Ted Schwerzler
Dec 28 2017 10:45 PM

 

If I remember correctly the previous administration tried to get an extra year or two tacked on. But Dozier wouldnt sign for that because that would affect his chance at a big payday.

I may have missed it, but I don't remember that report.

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Ted Schwerzler
Dec 28 2017 10:46 PM

 

A 5 year 14 to 16 million per season should work.

 

That has the chance to get ugly considering he'd be 37 at the end.

    • Danchat, NDTimIrish, SF Twins Fan and 2 others like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Dec 28 2017 10:50 PM

It seems the comments are focused on an extension. I'm not worried about that, and honestly wouldn't extend Dozier knowing the cash he'll be handed. The point was the Twins would be in an ideal spot if Dozier had another year or two allowing Dozier to pillow to whatever happens with Gordon/Polanco/Javier/Lewis/Arreaz/etc

    • darin617, NapoleonComplex, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this

 

It seems the comments are focused on an extension. I'm not worried about that, and honestly wouldn't extend Dozier knowing the cash he'll be handed. The point was the Twins would be in an ideal spot if Dozier had another year or two allowing Dozier to pillow to whatever happens with Gordon/Polanco/Javier/Lewis/Arreaz/etc

That would've been ideal.

 

If he does decide to walk, hopefully Gordon proves ready to step in and Polanco continues to progress. They obviously won't have Dozier's power, but they could make for an entertaining double play combo.

 

Javier is the one I'm most excited for of the bunch - Lewis included.

We were desperate for pitching last year, so I agreed with dangling Dozier.  However he's backed up one great season with another.  He's elite.  I was wrong.  However, as good as he has been and I think will be for the next two or 3 years, I do not think he will be that guy past his year 35.  I would be careful with him, both wanting him for the next 3 to 4 years but not longer.  

 

I guess that means we overpay for 3 years, which he won't do or extend for 5.  It's a tough call.

Dozier, like Jose Bautista, fell in the crack of unlucky, and basically got screwed for market value of his performance compared to the contract that he played for. No one ever seems to think he can repeat what he has just done. Every year, even the devout fans here were almost all non-believers, and endlessly called to trade him, as the last year just had to be his maximum value, and the fall was eminent. Maybe his only hope to really get paid well is to just keep agreeing to 2 year contracts for high value, and keep performing beyond expectation. His age is now his enemy for accumulating money, but I hope he keeps defying expectation, wherever he plays, and gets filthy rich. 

 

Personally, I would offer him a 15 million signing bonus, and a 36 million 2 year extension. Even if he falls off a bit, he deserves it for all the years he didn't get paid what he was worth. But owners are rarely that appreciative and fair.

    • Don Walcott likes this

I may have missed it, but I don't remember that report.



http://archive.naple...-335529341.html

Here's an article saying they worked on contracts from 4-8 years, but settled on 4 years.
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Major Leauge Ready
Dec 29 2017 06:28 AM

 

Personally, I would offer him a 15 million signing bonus, and a 36 million 2 year extension. Even if he falls off a bit, he deserves it for all the years he didn't get paid what he was worth. But owners are rarely that appreciative and fair.

 

That's a very one-sided point of view.There have been numerous players who received enormous contracts and failed miserably to deliver.Those payers don't give back a dime and the premise of them doing so is never even a remote consideration.The union would go nuts.It might even be a result of injury but why is it fair that the team absorb 100% of the risk associated with injury or non-performance.To say the owners should pay beyond market on a new contract with all the uncertainty associated with these big deals is wildly biased. 

    • REPETE, sploorp and Original Whizzinator like this

Dozier bet on himself and it looks like he is going to win that bet.Good for him. He'll get paid, either here or somewhere else.

    • dgwills, Sconnie, Dman and 2 others like this

The Twins did good to keep Dozier originally and not trade him.I predict a regression for him this year (just a gut feeling, nothing else), so I think this issue will take care of itself.

If I remember correctly the previous administration tried to get an extra year or two tacked on. But Dozier wouldnt sign for that because that would affect his chance at a big payday.


I may have missed it, but I don't remember that report.


Here's another version of that report:

http://m.startribune...2018/297472871/

“It offers a measure of security for Brian and offers the cost certainty for the club,” said Damon Lapa, Dozier’s agent. “The element that ultimately swayed our decision to move forward was that Brian did not have to sacrifice any free agent or option years and ultimately preserve his ability to become a free agent during the prime of his career.”
    • markos likes this

Dozier is massively underpaid, but it's partly his fault. He signed a contract that he knew was underpaying him to help out his favorite team. Let's hope the team returns the favor.

    • h2oface, Sconnie, WLFINN and 1 other like this

 

That's a very one-sided point of view.There have been numerous players who received enormous contracts and failed miserably to deliver.Those payers don't give back a dime and the premise of them doing so is never even a remote consideration.The union would go nuts.It might even be a result of injury but why is it fair that the team absorb 100% of the risk associated with injury or non-performance.To say the owners should pay beyond market on a new contract with all the uncertainty associated with these big deals is wildly biased. 

While I agree with this I do prefer to give the enormous contracts to guys that have performed for the Twins. I hate giving the big money for big years players have had somewhere else.The thing is, H20face probably wasn't even very far off the market value with his extension numbers if you add the bonus to the salary. In fact probably a little bit low since fan graphs has his annual value at near 30mil.I would consider a 45 mil two year extension and for all the reasons you stated Dozier would probably consider it also.I am also ok with just letting it play out.We have no idea what his shelf life is or how much he likes it here. According to this article his current contract actually appeared to be one sided in Dozier's favor. https://www.minnpost...illion-contract

I think he is a great player but he always seems to take a half a year figuring out that by going with the pitch instead of trying to pull everything into the left field line bleachers makes a huge difference in results.  

    • h2oface likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
Dec 29 2017 08:59 AM
Extend him so that he can retire as a Twin. That is most likely 4-5 years. He is too valuable and is the cornerstone of the franchise and the leader of the team. The one thing not considered too much here is what are Dozier's feelings on the matter? My gut instinct is that Dozier wants to stay loyal to the Twins and stay with this franchise while at the same time being paid top dollar (well deserved top dollar).
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SF Twins Fan
Dec 29 2017 09:13 AM

I'd try to get him signed to a 3 year contract worth $45 million with an option year for an additional $15 mil and a buyout. I don't think I'd go more than 4 years total because he'll be 36 - 37 by that 5th year.

I would not be looking to extend Dozier.Offer him the qualifying offer at the end of the year (16M) which he'll likely turn down and the Twins won't lose him for nothing.(Remember: the compensation pick for Cuddyer turned into Berrios).

    • Blackjack, Danchat and dgwills like this

We’ll have to see what kind of year he has this year first but if he hits 30 HR’s and has a decent OBP then it is going to take some serious money to sign him.He’s won a gold glove, been to the all-star game and hit’s lots of HR’s at a position where that kind of power is rare.If the Twins don’t pony up someone else will.I am guessing he will get 4 years with a 5th year option.His next contract could make him a rich man.

 

If he shows signs of regression or has serious injury then hard to say what he gets.Still probably good money just not max money. 

 

Personally I think the Twins offer him a QO and let him walk but we’ll see.

No long term contract.2 year extension, over pay if needed, but lets not get trapped by the system that has so many teams paying big money after the player stops producing.We cannot afford that kind of mistake and some where along the way MLB teams as a whole will figure that out.Only a few are rich enough to keep that system going.

    • Dantes929, Blackjack and h2oface like this

 

Dozier is massively underpaid, but it's partly his fault. He signed a contract that he knew was underpaying him to help out his favorite team. Let's hope the team returns the favor.

He's massively under paid to the metric, but to the market I'm not so sure. If Dozier really was seriously dangled as trade bait, wouldn't that extreme team friendly contract garner more interest?

 

I hope the man gets paid, he's certainly earned it. I'm in agreement with "Hydrogen Dioxide Visage", 2 years with a healthy signing bonus seems about right. He went a bit bigger than I would have - I'd target 10-12 mil signing bonus and 28 mil. For reference, Daniel Murphy is on a 3 year 37 mil contract that he signed as a younger player.

 

If you take Polanco's .723 OPS and stick him in the list of 2nd Basemen, he'd still be right around MLB average. While a steep drop off from Dozier, there's potential for improved fielding over an aging Dozier. This gives the Twins some leverage with Gordon close to ready at SS.

    • h2oface likes this

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