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Article: Brian Dozier Is Taking The Lead

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:56 PM

He leads off in the lineup. He leads the club in home runs. And most importantly, Brian Dozier is leading by example."Leadership" has always been an ambiguous term in pro sports. It's one of those intangible, immeasurable factors that is impossible to quantify. But no one can deny its import, especially on a team full of inexperienced players still learning how to be big-leaguers.

Many in and around the organization have suggested that a leadership void was, in some way, responsible for the disaster that played out in 2016. Torii Hunter's absence in the clubhouse was felt, says this line of thought.

Upon taking over the front office, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine almost immediately cited this as a need.

You could excuse Dozier for bristling a bit at this talk. All he did last year was go out and hit 42 home runs, a Herculean individual effort amidst a total organizational failure. He did his job and then some. Still, it does appear that he's taken it upon himself to embrace a more vocal and commanding role as clubhouse leader this year.

In spring training, he rarely camped at his corner locker, instead spending nearly all his time moving about and interacting with other players. When the Twins decided to sell key assets at the deadline, he expressed frustration on behalf of the group – "It does suck ... I can speak for everybody and say that." On at least one occasion this summer, he has reached out to a local writer directly to express displeasure over what he viewed as unfair coverage of a young teammate.

I'm not going to say these things are out of character or unprecedented for Dozier, but from my view he's shifted it up a gear noticeably. How much of an impact has it had? Who knows. Again, it's impossible to quantify, and pretty pointless to speculate about, especially from the outside.

But what's been truly striking over the past month is the way Dozier has let his play do the talking. When he griped about the front office, it fell a little flat; the Twins had fallen to seven games out of first place by dropping five of six on a West Coast road trip through LA and Oakland, and Dozier had gone 5-for-29 (.172) over the two series. In the last game before the deadline, he struck out five times in an extra-inning affair they lost by one.

A week later, I pondered whether the Twins could really make a run with Dozier and Joe Mauer, their two most-tenured players who both have contracts expiring after next year. The conclusion was that for this to happen both would need to raise their level of production and turn from role players to driving forces.

Both veterans have done just that, answering the call when things were slipping away. Mauer suddenly reverted to vintage form in August, slashing .336/.405/.458 in 28 games. And Dozier? Just a couple days after announcing "No white flags here," he embarked on an epic power binge with five home runs in six games (the Twins went 5-1). His OPS since the deadline sell is over 1.000.

On Wednesday, with the Twins again on the ropes after losing five of six to the Royals and Rays, Dozier confronted the urgency of their series finale in Tampa: “It’s a game we really need to win."

So what does he do, coming off an 0-fer in Tuesday's dispiriting 2-1 setback? He goes out and rips a leadoff homer, setting the tone in a much-needed 10-6 victory.

These Twins have proven to be, above all, a tremendously resilient team.

They're just following the leader.

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#2 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 06:16 AM

Good article about a good man.

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#3 mikelink45

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 06:32 AM

He fills an essential role, and as far as I can see he is the only Veteran who can do this.  It is not in Joe's personality and the leader needs to be someone on the field every day.  I am pleased to read this.

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#4 ThejacKmp

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 07:40 AM

It'll be interesting to see what the Twins do with Dozier this offseason. He's going to be coming off of a 2nd 30+ HR season and is on a good deal. I could see them extending him (though that's tough with so many middle infielders coming up), I could see them trading him and I could see them just keeping him. Wouldn't have thought that last one was a possibility before the season but not sure anyone else on the team is ready to step up and assume that role.

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#5 Dman

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 08:37 AM

 

It'll be interesting to see what the Twins do with Dozier this offseason. He's going to be coming off of a 2nd 30+ HR season and is on a good deal. I could see them extending him (though that's tough with so many middle infielders coming up), I could see them trading him and I could see them just keeping him. Wouldn't have thought that last one was a possibility before the season but not sure anyone else on the team is ready to step up and assume that role.

 

Yep I think they will just keep him as well.  They can't seem to get decent value in trade for him so might as well ride it out.  They can gauge his market value after next season and decide if they want to keep him or run with another young guy.

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#6 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:11 AM

If this is who Dozier is going forward and the market remains soft on second basemen, riding out the contract and giving him a QO seems the most logical route to take.

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#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:23 AM

 

If this is who Dozier is going forward and the market remains soft on second basemen, riding out the contract and giving him a QO seems the most logical route to take.

 

Absolutely agree... no reason to deal him unless overwhelmed... 

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#8 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:28 AM

 

If this is who Dozier is going forward and the market remains soft on second basemen, riding out the contract and giving him a QO seems the most logical route to take.

 

You'd pay Dozier around 15MM a year or more? That is going to eat a lot of RP or SP money....

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#9 Vanimal46

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:30 AM

Hopefully 3 years in a row with 28+ HRs increases his trade value over the winter. We went ad nauseam about the concerns of Dozier last winter (coming off a career year, is he truly a power hitter, yadda yadda), and much to my surprise, bounced back again in the 2nd half to have a good season stat-wise. 

 

I wouldn't actively trade him now that the team is closer to contention than we ever imagined in 2016... But it certainly doesn't hurt to listen and shop around. 

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#10 VirginSturgeon

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:40 AM

 

You'd pay Dozier around 15MM a year or more? That is going to eat a lot of RP or SP money....

 

I would have no problem if they extended him for 2 more years at that figure.  Just would be looking to package Gordan in a trade for SP or RP, whatever Falvey and Co. thought was the best options.  Going forward with multiple options for the middle infield will be interesting and a nice problem to have.

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#11 Comrade Bork

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:52 AM

Boy he sure does talk funny though lol. Go get em Dozier!
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I get my opinions from media guides.

#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:00 AM

 

You'd pay Dozier around 15MM a year or more? That is going to eat a lot of RP or SP money....

If he's an .800-.850 OPS player in 2018, there's a better than even chance he rejects the QO and someone gives him $70m+ over 4-5 years.

 

And even if you're "stuck" with him, you have an .800-.850 OPS second baseman on a one year contract.

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#13 Taildragger8791

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:00 AM

 

You'd pay Dozier around 15MM a year or more? That is going to eat a lot of RP or SP money....

 

I doubt Dozier signs the tender unless the market is pretty terrible for 2B. At his age, it'll be his best (and maybe only) opportunity to finally cash in on a multi-year guaranteed free market deal. If he does sign it then the Twins can easily absorb one year at that salary in 2019. Mauer, Perkins and maybe Santana would all be off the books so it shouldn't be that prohibitive. There's a good chance some of that money would have to go towards finding another middle infielder anyways. I'd say it's worth a chance to get that draft pick in return. I say all this assuming his performance next year is essentially a repeat of this season.


#14 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:18 AM

Except people are saying to extend Mauer also....

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:30 AM

 

Except people are saying to extend Mauer also....

I'd be shocked if Mauer makes even half his current salary in his next contract.

 

But I'm also not sold on resigning him at all.

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#16 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:45 AM

 

If he's an .800-.850 OPS player in 2018, there's a better than even chance he rejects the QO and someone gives him $70m+ over 4-5 years.

 

And even if you're "stuck" with him, you have an .800-.850 OPS second baseman on a one year contract.

 

Agreed. So, if we think that's what he'd get, would you sign him for 4-5 more years?

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 11:06 AM

 

Agreed. So, if we think that's what he'd get, would you sign him for 4-5 more years?

Nope.


#18 Nick Nelson

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:02 PM

Yeah, I think if things continue to go the way they are, the smart plan is to keep Dozier for 2018 and offer a QO. I like him and I'm obviously very impressed with what he's doing right now, but throwing down huge money to lock up him up in his mid-30s doesn't seem like the savvy move with so much quality middle-infield talent rising through the system.

 

Hopefully by the time Dozier's contract expires we'll see some of the younger guys stepping into that vocal leader role. 


#19 DaveW

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:03 PM

At this stage, where the team sits and how they look for the future, I don't see how you can trade Dozier.

I'd be hesitant with an extension, I would agree to a 3 year extension at around 23 mil a year, but I could see Dozier wanting to get a 5 year deal on the open market. Though 69 million gives him peace of mind in the interim. He still should be productive at age 34.

Aaron Hicks 2017 stats so far (5/17/17): .326 BA .464 OBP .616 SLG 1.080 OPS  7 HR 19 RBI 6 SB 22 BBs 1.8WAR
 


#20 Tomj14

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:33 PM

If I was going to extend him, it would be right up to when Buxton and the crew are coming due, I wouldn't want his contract to be the reason we can't sign them.

I think Mauer will re-sign with something around 3/30 to finish he career here.

I think if the Twins are in it again next year, I don't believe money should stop them from signing a pitcher, the fans just won't have it.

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