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Thank you, Brian!


Ted Schwerzler

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The year was 2012, and a 25 year old Brian Dozier had finally burst onto the scene. No, this wasn't the big leagues, but it was close enough. Spring Training had commenced down in Fort Myers, and the scrappy Southern Mississippi kid had taken the narratives by storm. He was getting hits on a daily basis, and fans were looking for a long term answer at short. The 8th round senior sign from 2009 had put his name in the hat and wasn't going away quietly.

 

Although he didn't go north with the club that year, it didn't take long for them to come calling either. On May 7, 2012 Brian Dozier would make his Major League debut. He tallied his first hit in that game, and his first home run came five games later. Largely however, 2012 was a season to forget. It became quickly apparent that Dozier wasn't suited to play shortstop at the big league level and the reset button was pushed.

 

Fast forward to 2013 and a positional move to second base. Marking his first full season with the Twins, Dozier would play in 147 games. It has since become customary over the course of his seven year career, but Minnesotans were put on notice that season; this man would simply not be held out of the game.

 

In 2014 Brian began to establish himself as a power threat. His 23 longballs followed up a solid 18 in the year prior. While not being the hulking corner infield type, this man helped to wear out the left field bleachers at Target Field. Despite being a snub for the game itself, Brian was able to participate in the hometown 2014 Home Run Derby. Although his efforts fell short, it was a great moment for the entirety of Twins Territory.

 

Not to be denied in 2015, Brian captured his first All Star game nod. A season that saw him come up just shy of 30 homers (28 in total), he received MVP votes for the first time in his career. By this point, it was apparent that the Minnesota Twins had one of the best second basemen in all of baseball. Then, 2016 happened...

Harmon Killebrew is still, and will forever be, revered as the best Twins home run hitter of all time. In 2016, Dozier put himself among that rare company. With 42 homers to his credit, he again received MVP votes and further cementer his ability in comparison with the Jose Altuve's and Robinson Cano's of his position. At just 5'11" this was a relatively short man that had an ability at the plate to wear out Minnie and Paulie's hands.

 

Having now become known as a player that gets hot down the stretch, Dozier simply followed status quo in 2017. Although he didn't repeat and eclipse the 40 mark, his 34 homers were the second highest total of his career. Thanks to his offensive accolades, he vaulted himself into Gold Glove consideration and ended up taking home the award. At this point, the self-made slugger had turned a late blooming career into one for the storybooks.

 

Although Brian would've liked it to go differently this season, Minnesota simply couldn't keep up with all of the roadblocks in their way. Another trip to the postseason wasn't going to happen in Twins Territory, but that doesn't mean it won't for Brian. Now on his way to Los Angeles to join the Dodgers, a team he had been tied to in the past, Dozier gets to join a front-runner. He'll make a great up the middle partner for Manny Machado, and many Twins fans will only have to change their shade of blue come October.

 

As the sun sets on this chapter, Dozier leaves the Twins with 167 home runs, 202 doubles, and 491 RBI to his credit. He's a testament to the player that never stops working, and more importantly, the man that always wants more. Both he and his wife Renee have made an impact far greater than what's seen on the diamond, and they'll be sorely missed around Target Field. It's the nature of the business that players come and go, but this is one that left his mark here forever. Thank you Brian, and go Dodgers.

 

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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Not sure I can root for the Dodgers, unless they are playing the Yankees, but I wish Dozier the best.  I'll still root for him when he has the opportunity to make a play or get a hit.

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