With the Los Angeles Dodgers now having inked both Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen to free agent deals, they could slow on spending this offseason. They also brought back Rich Hill, and have effectively kept their 2016 roster in tact. That group didn't win a World Series though, so adding a piece or two seems like the next logical step.
The Dodgers have a need in the form of a setup man ahead of Jansen, and arguably more pressing than that, at second base in the infield. For what seems like the longest time, the Dodgers and Minnesota Twins have been doing a dance around All Star Brian Dozier. Now it sounds like they'll turn their focus to that trade, and Howard Cole believes it'll get done.
I spoke with the Forbes writer and IBWAA Founding Director via email in regards to the Dodgers and Dozier. With a few questions sent his way, here's the answers I got back:
Off The Baggy: Now that the Dodgers have handled their free agent deals in the form of Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, and Justin Turner, it would seem reasonable that turning to other needs would be a good bet. Brian Dozier fills a 2B hole for LA. What are the odds you see a deal getting done, and what reasonable expectations do you see for him in 2017?
Howard Cole: The Dodgers have held on to their prospects for a deal just like this, and I think they'll get it done. It's a great match for both clubs. Obviously, L.A. would love for Dozier to pick up where he left off the second half of 2016, but they'll be happy with a solid second baseman who plays 155 games a year and hits for power from the right side, both of which are things they desperately need. They'll take an OPS of only .800 gratefully.
OTB: After going with aging veteran Chase Utley a year ago, Dozier would represent a player with a bit of control and arguably in his prime. Do you see him as a player the Dodgers are looking at as just an immediate addition, or someone they expect to help beyond his deal in 2018?
HC: The Dodgers are looking to win now and in the future, but the two years remaining on Dozier's contract is perfect. They'll worry about a second baseman for 2019 later.
OTB: While Brian Dozier represents the best the Minnesota Twins have to offer, it's realistic to assume they won't be winning while he's on the roster. In dealing him away, they could target just prospects, or blend in some big league ready options too. What do you see the Dodgers being willing to give up?
HC: Power guy Willie Calhoun probably goes in this one. He's an offense-first player who's already listed as a "Second Baseman and Designated Hitter" on Baseball-Reference.com. I imagine the Twins will ask for Jose De Leon and they might just get him. Brock Stewart could work as well, but it really depends on what the ask is. The Dodgers have a ton of good pitching prospects to choose from.
OTB: Obviously the Dodgers farm system is loaded with prospects due to some solid moves over the past year or so. If there was a prospect you just really don't want to see Los Angeles give up because he may turn into a real star, who is that for you?
HC: Cody Bellinger. He'll follow Adrian Gonzalez as a two-way star at first base no later than 2019, and contribute in the outfield as early as midseason next year. I'm excluding Julio Urias, of course, because he's no longer a prospect; he's a mainstay in the rotation.
OTB: I've contended that Jansen, Turner, and Hill being resigned wasn't the Dodgers elevating themselves as they were simply making sure to keep their 2016 club in tact. Adding Dozier, is he enough of a piece to feel good about advancing further in the Postseason or win a World Series?
HC: Don't forget they'll have newly re-signed Rich Hill for the entire season in 2017 too, after getting just 47 innings, including the postseason, out of him in 2016. They'll have Andre Ethier back in a platoon role next year too, in addition to their late find, Andrew Toles, and if healthy, Trayce Thompson. So no black hole in left field for another season. But yeah, Dozier would make a huge difference. Huge.
It sure seems like the two sides are in a collision course to a resolution. We could see that happen in short order.