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What's Holding Up The Dozier Trade?

For weeks, the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers have been in an apparent stalemate regarding a Brian Dozier trade.

What's keeping these talks from reaching fruition?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today
Over 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.

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96 Comments

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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 08 2017 02:21 PM

I really don't understand what the hell is going on in this thread.

 

Whether you keep or remove Dozier's 2016 home runs, he still leads all middle infielders in homers over the past 3-4 seasons.

 

By that standard - hitting more home runs than anyone else who plays middle infield - he's an elite power-hitting middle infielder.

 

It doesn't matter if he leads by one home run or 20. He's the best at that particular skill and, therefore, elite.

 

I hate to go all pedantic-semantic on the board but jaysus, the definition of elite is "the best in a class".

    • ChiTownTwinsFan, Nick Nelson, gunnarthor and 2 others like this

 

 

 

It doesn't matter if he leads by one home run or 20. He's the best at that particular skill and, therefore, elite.

 

It matters a lot in this discussion.One of those would be a future HOFer and would greatly affect what the Twins should get in a trade. 

 

If the "top HR hitter" is 2 home runs above the competition, could you save your prospects and trade instead trade for the #5 HR hitter, only sacrificing half a dozen HR in the process?Yes, that would be a smart move to keep your top prospects and keep your money.

If the "top HR hitter" is 30 home runs above the competition, passing on him for the #5 HR hitter is suddenly becomes a real, actual drop in value. 

 

Thus, the fact that Dozier's HR lead is due to hitting 2x his career norm in one year is worth looking at for any team. Teams would be dumb not to do that.

Also, if the Dodgers are looking for power, wouldn't they be chasing SLG instead of HR? Some players with half the HR as Dozier have similar or better SLGs. How much does HR even matter here? We could be getting deep into a discussion that is simply a red herring.

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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 08 2017 02:35 PM

 

It matters a lot in this discussion.One of those would be a future HOFer and would greatly affect what the Twins should get in a trade. 

 

If the "top HR hitter" is 2 home runs above the competition, could you save your prospects and trade instead trade for the #5 HR hitter, only sacrificing half a dozen HR in the process?Yes, that would be a smart move to keep your top prospects and keep your money.

If the "top HR hitter" is 30 home runs above the competition, passing on him for the #5 HR hitter is suddenly becomes a real, actual drop in value. 

 

Thus, the fact that Dozier's HR lead is due to hitting 2x his career norm in one year is worth looking at for any team.

But Nick wasn't attaching value to his statement. He was referring to Dozier's skill set, which includes elite power for his position.

 

And Dozier didn't double his home run total last season.  He topped the previous season by 14 home runs, or an additional 50%.

 

Nick's actual statement, for the record:

"And here we're talking about Dozier, an elite power hitting middle infielder in his prime with two full years of control remaining."

 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that sentence. All three statements are true. Dozier is an elite power-hitting middle infielder. He's still in his prime. He has two years of control.

    • ChiTownTwinsFan, gunnarthor, nytwinsfan and 1 other like this

 

But Nick wasn't attaching value to his statement. He was referring to Dozier's skill set, which includes elite power for his position.

 

"Elite power for his position" isn't a value statement? What is it then?

 

Also, the line you quoted was not what I was responding to.

 

As for power, Dozier's SLG last year was .546. Very good, but not elite. There have been recent years where second basemen have had higher SLG percentages than that with a mere seven home runs. Last year he was outslugged by someone who hit 25. Knowing that, if you are the Dodgers do you still focus only on Dozier? If you are the Twins, how high to you set the bar for a trade?

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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 08 2017 03:16 PM

 

Entry level statistics teaches that you get rid of the highest and lowest numbers. But what if either of the highest or lowest numbers are within a standard deviation of the norm? You've started to remove valid data just to deal with some other number that is skewing things. And you're not *really* dealing with that outlier data by this process, you're just finding a way to feel more equitable about removing it. But getting the right story from data isn't about feeling fair about it. (And it's also not about removing data you don't like, it's about finding some other way to deal with it).

Not looking at Dozier's competition, here are the various methods discussed for dealing with Dozier over the past four years:

 

- Straight up HR/yr average: 27.75 (111 total)

- Mean + Median HR/yr average: 26.63 (106 total)

- Replacing highest and lowest with the average: 24.25 (97 total)

- Replacing the outlier with the average: 23 (92 total)

- Removing the outlier altogether: 23 (69 total)

- Removing highest and lowest: 25.5 (51 total)

If I were making a recommendation, I would use the 26/yr projection as it's the system that does not ignore his great year, it simply weighs it less. If 2016 becomes his norm, then that will work itself out over time in the calculation.

 

With Dozier's small sample size the story is about the same regardless of the method you use -- 42 home runs is a hell of a lot more than anyone would have expected in 2016. It would thus be a gamble to expect it in 2017, but you can take ~25 home runs to the bank until he shows that 2016 is repeatable.

You could also use regression analysis to deal with outliers, but I'll only get into what that indicates for Dozier if anyone is interested. (It's 23.39/yr.)

 

Well... the problem with entry level statistics in the context of baseball players is a little problem called small sample size and career arc, especially when sample sizes are in years and Dozier's professional career has spanned only 8 years and only 4.5 of said years have been at the professional level. It's one thing to remove an outlier when you have a bazillion data points, but you're literally removing 20-25% of his major league career in calling it normalization.Basic statistics assumes a lot more data points than what you're working with here.That's the flaw in the reasoning.

 

I think it's very reasonable to assume that BD can put in 30+ HR seasons over the next two years. Home runs aren't luck driven, even the saber crowd will acknowledge that.Dozier has shown he can adjust to ML pitching, and short of health issues or suddenly being caught using PEDs, he's a pretty good bet to continue at that pace for a few more years. 

    • Doomtints likes this

Well, what might've been holding up the deal is that the Dodgers just signed Cuban Jose Fernandez. He's been out of baseball for awhile and might need some minor league time. But only 28. Do they really need Dozier now?

 

    • Tom Froemming likes this
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Secondary User
Jan 08 2017 03:33 PM

 

Entry level statistics teaches that you get rid of the highest and lowest numbers. But what if either of the highest or lowest numbers are within a standard deviation of the norm? You've started to remove valid data just to deal with some other number that is skewing things. And you're not *really* dealing with that outlier data by this process, you're just finding a way to feel more equitable about removing it. But getting the right story from data isn't about feeling fair about it. (And it's also not about removing data you don't like, it's about finding some other way to deal with it).

 

Do not throw away data.  Ever.  Understand why outliers might be outliers

    • nytwinsfan and Doomtints like this

 

Well... the problem with entry level statistics in the context of baseball players is a little problem called small sample size and career arc, especially when sample sizes are in years and Dozier's professional career has spanned only 8 years and only 4.5 of said years have been at the professional level. It's one thing to remove an outlier when you have a bazillion data points, but you're literally removing 20-25% of his major league career in calling it normalization.

 

 

More than that.If you remove Dozier's top and bottom HR totals over the past 4 years, you remove 60 of his home runs and are left with 51.There would be no quicker way to get a wrong answer in reality, even if your teacher might mark it as right. 

 

I agree that Dozier is probably good for a hair above 30 HR each year for the next couple of years. 

 

As for power, Dozier's SLG last year was .546. Very good, but not elite.

Ah, hell, I'll bite -what is an elite slugging percentage for a middle infielder?And where does 'very good' start and end?

    • snepp, nytwinsfan and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 08 2017 05:45 PM

 

Well, what might've been holding up the deal is that the Dodgers just signed Cuban Jose Fernandez. He's been out of baseball for awhile and might need some minor league time. But only 28. Do they really need Dozier now?

I don't feel like this has any impact on their interest in Dozier. I believe Fernandez is a lefty hitter, so he wouldn't be a solution to their biggest weakness. They're not just out to win a division title this year, they want to win it all.

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Physics Guy
Jan 08 2017 07:07 PM

Elite:

 

noun
1.(often used with a plural verb) the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.

    • Craig Arko likes this

Elite:

noun
1. (often used with a plural verb) the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.


2. Anything described by PJ Fleck
    • Mike Sixel, DJSim22, Riverbrian and 5 others like this
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TheLeviathan
Jan 08 2017 07:51 PM

 

2. Anything described by PJ Fleck

 

So everything then?

    • drjim likes this

 

Well, what might've been holding up the deal is that the Dodgers just signed Cuban Jose Fernandez. He's been out of baseball for awhile and might need some minor league time. But only 28. Do they really need Dozier now?

 

They need him as much as they did before.Fernandez is not at a level near Dozier. 

 

So, Mike Trout, not elite?

 

Just curious where we draw the lines of definition here.

 

Good point. I have nothing to refute that.

 

I certainly don't feel strongly enough about any of it to justify more pages in this thread. There is just way too much emphasis being pinned on both Dozier, and the trade itself.

Q:  What's Holding Up The Dozier Trade?

 

A:  Nothing is holding it up.  It fell into the swamp a month ago.

Dodgers offering De Leon for Dozier 1 to 1 is insulting to say the least. At this point I would rather keep Dozier. Let the Dodgers rot, we don't need a pitcher with shoulder trouble history, just look at Johan Santanna and his shoulder capsule problems. 

Let them the Dodgers sign there piddly little minor league signing.

 

If there is a huge difference between both sides, then no deal was ever close. This means we have been talking about a non-issue.

The reports state that the Twins and Dodgers have discussed things. That's it. They are not close to a deal. Therefore, we have been wasting our time on this.


Please elaborate.

Elite:

noun
1. (often used with a plural verb) the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.


Can someone tell Fleck to stop using this as an adjective/adverbial every sentence, then?

And hair. HOF hair.

I don't know how to add GIF's but this comment calls for that song? I got parts of it stuck in my brain..... Long beautiful hair? Flaxen waxen? Should be BD's walk up song! :).

 

I don't know how to add GIF's but this comment calls for that song? I got parts of it stuck in my brain..... Long beautiful hair? Flaxen waxen? Should be BD's walk up song! :).

 

fabio-o.gif

    • ChiTownTwinsFan, USAFChief and gunnarthor like this

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