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Should the Twins Extend Brian Dozier?

Posted by Andrew Thares , 25 January 2018 · 4,200 views

rounding third brian dozier
Should the Twins Extend Brian Dozier?
  • 2B Contract Details

There is no question that Brian Dozier has been the best player on the Minnesota Twins for the past four seasons. Over that stretch, Dozier’s 18.8 fWAR ranks 18th in Major League Baseball, and is 2nd among second basemen. His early success lead the Twins front office to give him a 4-year, $20MM deal to buy out his arbitration eligible years. This has proved to be an extremely team friendly deal, but now that the Twins are a team that is finally back in playoff contention, they just might be in danger of losing their best player.

Dozier has expressed interest in returning to the Twins after 2018, but it doesn’t appear that the Twins have approached him yet this offseason about a potential extension. So, the question to ask is, should they?

Probably the most important factor in this decision will be cost. How much money will they need to spend, and how many years will they need to offer in order to entice Dozier away from entering free agency next offseason. Dozier has drastically increased his market value after back-to-back career years. This means that the Twins won’t be able to sign him for pennies on the dollar this time around. When trying to estimate the contract that Dozier’s agent will be asking for, the best place to start is by looking at contracts that other elite level second basemen have gotten in recent years. The three players that make the most sense to look at are Robinson Cano, Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist. Here are the details of their contracts.


2B Contract Details


For a little comparison, Brian Dozier will be entering his age 31 season this year, and had a 5.0 fWAR last season, and a 14.2 fWAR over the previous three. Given these factors, and adding in a couple years of baseball inflation, we can assume that Dozier will get a contract somewhere in between the Cano and Zobrist contracts. In terms of years, I would expect that the it will be a lot closer to the four years Zobrist got, than the ten years Cano received. It would most likely be a deal that would extend either four or five seasons past Dozier’s current contract. Even though it has been four years since Robinson Cano signed his deal, I do not see Dozier receiving an offer that approaches Cano’s in terms of Average Annual Value, as Cano was an MVP level player for five seasons before signing his contract with the Mariners. Given this, I am predicting that Dozier will sign for somewhere in the $19M-$21M per year range.

Now that we have a ballpark idea of what it might take to sign Brian Dozier to an extension, we now must figure out if it would make sense for the Twins to sign him to that extension. As with most big decisions, it is often works well to look at the pros and cons of the decision, so that is what we will do.

Pros


The first pro to extending Dozier, is it will secure the Twins organizational depth in the middle infield. The reason that this is important is two-fold. While players like Royce Lewis, Nick Gordon, Wander Javier and even Jorge Polanco all have a lot of potential, they still have big question marks attached to them. For a team like the Twins, who is ready to compete now, having a player like Dozier, who has a much higher floor over the next few seasons will be very important. The other reason why Dozier securing depth in the middle infield is important is, it gives the front office more flexibility with their personal decisions. With second base taken care of for the foreseeable future, they can be more aggressive with their prospects in the trade market for a big time starting pitcher, like Chris Archer. Also, with the future of third base in doubt after 2018, the Twins could also use their depth in the middle infield to fill this hole, potentially with Dozier sliding over to third himself.

Another benefit of keeping Dozier around is his leadership presence in the clubhouse. With an inexperienced team like the Twins, having veteran leader for the young players is paramount.

The final benefit of extending Dozier now is the Twins will have exclusive negotiating rights with him. If the Twins want to bring Dozier back, their best bet might be by not exposing him to the other 29 teams in free agency.

Cons


Without question, the biggest con in extending Dozier would be the financial commitment the Twins would have to make to him. If the Twins were to sign him, the total value of the contract would be roughly in the $100MM range. If the Twins were to make that investment it would take away from their ability to go out and sign a top tier starting pitcher that is of desperate need. Another potential problem with locking up that much money in one player is, if they suffer an injury, or their game were to suddenly go away, the Twins would be stuck with a lot of dead money on their books. With Dozier now on the wrong side of 30, both of those are possibilities, despite his track record of health and consistent performance.

A final motive to consider is baring an awful 2018 for Dozier, the Twins will make him a qualifying offer at the end of the season. So even if he does sign with a different organization, the Twins will receive a draft pick between Rounds 1 and 2 in the 2019 Draft as compensation.

With all things considered, it is a bit surprising that the Twins haven’t at least approached Dozier or his agent about an extension this winter. Even if they are leaning towards not bringing him back, it would still be worth getting the conversation started to see what Dozier wants.

I am interested to see what everyone has to say on this. Do you think that the Twins should offer Brian Dozier a contract extension, or should they let him play just play out this season and see where the chips fall in free agency?

  • HitInAPinch, dbminn and Tom Froemming like this



I have concerns on how Dozier will age, maybe just me but he seems to hit a lot that barely make it in the seats, he doesn't have the raw power and relies mostly on quick reflexes pulling the ball.I'm worried that once he starts to slip, he goes down in a hurry.That said, I'm a big fan of Dozier and don't want to see him leave.I think it would leave a huge hole in the lineup.Besides Dozier, opposing teams are probably only really worried about Sano in this lineup.A lot of decent hitters, but they don't have any other true middle of the order type threats.  

 

Some would say you just fill that hole with Gordon.I'm just not a fan of that.Gordon to me is just not an impact player.Replacing an impact player with an average player is not going to lead to anything good besides saving money.If they had an impact bat coming up at a different position, maybe.Unfortunately potential impact position players are in the low minors.Rooker is one of the only possibilities in the system that could come up in the next 2-3 years.  

 

With Dozier I would feel him out, see if he's reasonable.I wouldn't want to go more than 4 years.Not sure what that would be, maybe 4/$70M?If he's concerned more with a market-setting deal I would let him walk if it comes to it.  

    • Andrew Thares likes this
Sorry, maybe its a misprint, but how could Dozier, who i love, believe in, and would like to be re-signed, be worth $100M? $20-$25M per depending on years. What? Typo, right?

Dozier is an iron man. All iron man are until they aren't. In any sport. But you can't predict those things. The Twins have a wonderful wealth of talented infielders coming up. But most, except for Gordon, are 2-3 years away. Dozier shows no signs of slowing down, and is an important part of this team both offensively, leadership wise, and is quality defensively. There is also a bit of a glut in MLB in regard to 2B available in FA and trade the next few years. This brings his cost down, I believe.

With the continued development of Sano, Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Polanco, etc, trade and FA opportunities and eventual promotion, I still feel Dozier is a viable and important presence. What if he's signed for 4-5 years and plays the last 1-2 as a DH and super utility player? His value is about $14M per IMO.

Even if you re-sign him for that, even if Mauernis also re-signed for 2 more years, which has been discussed, you still save money overall for payroll.

Production, experience, leadership, potential flexibility, I'd love to sign him for about 4 years and $14M. Anything more, I trust in moving forward.
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stringer bell
Jan 26 2018 08:07 AM

Right now, Brian Dozier is the Twins best player. As stated above, beyond the outstanding power stats, he is durable and could perhaps move to another less-demanding position. He's a good guy and a clubhouse leader.

 

For the last three years, I have mused "is Dozier another Jeff Kent or is he another Dan Uggla?" Kent became a fine offensive player relatively late (as Dozier did) and continued as a 120+ OPS player into his late 30s. Uggla burst onto the scene as a slugger, but was basically done by 30 or 31.

 

Dozier has adjusted through his career, becoming a home run hitter despite raw power that is less than off the charts. Last year, he used the whole field more, was more selective and had career highs in BA and OBP. This would indicate that he could be a fine offensive players for the next few years.

 

I think Dozier has earned big bucks going forward and if I were the Twins I would not hesitate to give him big money for the rest of the decade, but they should try to limit the years, maybe 3? Perhaps three years of Cano money (3-$72M).

 

 

Short answer..... Yes.

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Andrew Thares
Jan 26 2018 08:48 AM

 

Sorry, maybe its a misprint, but how could Dozier, who i love, believe in, and would like to be re-signed, be worth $100M? $20-$25M per depending on years. What? Typo, right?

Dozier is an iron man. All iron man are until they aren't. In any sport. But you can't predict those things. The Twins have a wonderful wealth of talented infielders coming up. But most, except for Gordon, are 2-3 years away. Dozier shows no signs of slowing down, and is an important part of this team both offensively, leadership wise, and is quality defensively. There is also a bit of a glut in MLB in regard to 2B available in FA and trade the next few years. This brings his cost down, I believe.

With the continued development of Sano, Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Polanco, etc, trade and FA opportunities and eventual promotion, I still feel Dozier is a viable and important presence. What if he's signed for 4-5 years and plays the last 1-2 as a DH and super utility player? His value is about $14M per IMO.

Even if you re-sign him for that, even if Mauernis also re-signed for 2 more years, which has been discussed, you still save money overall for payroll.

Production, experience, leadership, potential flexibility, I'd love to sign him for about 4 years and $14M. Anything more, I trust in moving forward.

Well in the post you can see that the prediction would be that he would sign for somewhere between $19M-$21M annually. So a 5 year extension, would approach $100M. 

 

If you think that Dozier doesn't have any more value than Ben Zobrist had in 2016, then I think you might be undervaluing Brian Dozier a bit. Not only is Dozier 4 years younger than Zobrist was at the time, but Zobrist was also coming off a season where he was starting to show signs of his decline, while Dozier has been a very consistent performer. 

 

Yes, I too would love to sign Dozier to the same deal Zobrist got, but the truth is Dozier is far more valuable now, and will be a year from now as a free agent, than Zobrist was in 2016, at age 35.

 

Also, just a little proof that my numbers are not that far off. Last night, Lorenzo Cain signed a 5 year, $80M contract. Not only is Cain the same age now, that Dozier will be next offseason (32), but he has also hasn't been as good of a player as Dozier over the past couple of seasons. Couple that with the fact that he will be playing a corner outfield position which brings his value down even more when compared to Dozier, who plays a premium defensive position.

    • Broker likes this
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HitInAPinch
Jan 26 2018 10:25 AM

First, let me say I like Dozier.I don't really see a downside to him.However, I think it's time to embrace the future.

 

I like Polanco far better at 2nd than short. 

 

Dozier is still young, affordable and productive.Dozier should be worth something more than LA was offering last year.It is a pretty unique thing for the Twins that they have the option to trade a guy like Dozier and back-fill it's MiLB system with new talent.

 

Or, I could be wrong :-)

 

4/$76M + 5th yr option @ $4M buyout

 

Not my money ... Sign him up

 

Make him an All-Time Twin and let us enjoy his game the whole way!

    • Broker and Andrew Thares like this

I don't care about those comparisons. I say give him 3 years at $45 mil

Ok. My bad. So 3 years at $65 mil.

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jorgenswest
Jan 27 2018 11:44 AM
I think Lorenzo Cain is a better long term bet and would get better offers. He did get 80 million over 5 year at 16 million a year. I don’t see Dozier getting that kind of deal. He may get the year amount over a shorter term.