What's Holding Up The Dozier Trade?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA TodayOver the past month or so, we've seen reports from numerous outlets suggesting that the Dodgers are making prospect Jose De Leon available as the main piece in a potential deal, and that the two sides are in disagreement over what would come packaged alongside the right-hander.
The latest tidbit, a Thursday tweet from USA TODAY baseball scribe Bob Nightingale, affirms (unsurprisingly) that Los Angeles remains "heavy favorites" for Dozier but adds that the "Twins continue to insist they need more than Jose De Leon to move him."
Now, what Nightingale is probably saying is that the Twins are demanding at least one more top-tier prospect in addition to De Leon. But if we take the words at face value, there is an implication that the Dodgers are offering nothing beyond the 24-year-old. Nothing of note, anyway.
And that... well, that'd be a bit ridiculous.
Let's turn the clock back to the 2016 trade deadline. Seeking to bulk up for the stretch run, the Dodgers swung a deal with the Oakland Athletics to acquire starter Rich Hill along with outfielder Josh Reddick. In exchange, LA gave up three of its top pitching prospects: Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas and Jharel Cotton.
Both Hill and Reddick became free agents at year's end, so in that instance, the Dodgers were willing to give up three coveted young arms for a pair of short-term rentals. Granted, no one among the aforementioned trio can quite measure up to De Leon, but they were pretty damn good prospects. And here we're talking about Dozier, an elite power hitting middle infielder in his prime with two full years of control remaining.
With that context in mind, plus the return that the White Sox recently received when trading Adam Eaton to the Nationals a month ago, the Twins would be crazy to give up Dozier for one unproven player. Being that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are both essentially newbies on the job, the last thing they want to do is get swindled when dealing away the team's best player.
So, the reluctance to pull the trigger makes sense, in light of these facts. But time is running out.
For Dozier, this has undoubtedly been an agonizing couple of months. He's not ignorant to the business of baseball, but hanging in a state of complete limbo as he is can't be fun. An article from Mike Berardino in the Pioneer Press earlier this week quoted a source as saying that a final decision would be coming soon "out of respect" for the veteran infielder.
But what does that really mean? If another week passes and the Dodgers still haven't budged, Falvey and Levine say "OK, no deal" and that's that? Even if LA comes back at the end of the month – after futilely scouring for another decent option at second – and offers to meet the previous demands, the Twins are going to say no?
It's a murky situation, to be sure. Signs still point to a trade being announced quite soon but with each passing day, the chances of Dozier remaining in Minnesota get a little bit better.
I'm not sure how I would feel about that. I've been a vocal proponent of trading Dozier for De Leon since before the season ended. But if the Dodgers are truly set on low-balling the Twins for a premier player – and that would be inexplicable because LA truly needs Dozier – then I could hardly fault the new regime for standing pat.
One way or another, it sounds like we'll have an answer within a few days.
As we continue to play the waiting game, here are some diversions to keep you busy (and educated):
- Whenever any significant news relating to this situation emerges, you can bet it will posted to the Dozier Trade Discussion thread in our forum. There are currently 73 pages of conversation, but skip to the end for the newest submissions.
- Last month I wrote an in-depth profile on De Leon, who is all but certain to headline any eventual package. As you will see, there is much to like about the Puerto Rican strikeout machine.
- Jeremy Nygaard wrote over the weekend about creative ways that the Twins and Dodgers could complete a deal without adding any big names behind De Leon.
- Sconnie, dbminn and BuxtonBandwagon like this