Outside of the usual free agent rumors which always seem to surround the Dodgers, the biggest trade rumor has easily been that the Dodgers were trying to take Brian Dozier away from the Twins. After hearing that the Dodgers were interested in trading for Ian Kinsler and Logan Forsythe, the Dozier rumors seemed like nothing more than speculation at first. But the further into the offseason we got, the more it seemed like this was a legitimate possibility.
First it was reported that the Twins wanted any potential Dozier deal to center around top Dodgers prospect Cody Bellinger. This seemed extremely unlikely considering that Adrian Gonzalez isn’t getting any younger and Bellinger appears to be the heir apparent at first base. Then news broke that the Dodgers and Twins had agreed on Jose De Leon as the center piece. All of a sudden it seemed like the trade was imminent. The Dodgers had balked at including De Leon in any prior trade talks. If they were willing to include him now then it surely had to be just a matter of time until they agreed on the smaller pieces of the deal.
But then we waited. And we waited. Then we waited some more. It seemed like the moment the news broke that De Leon would be included was the moment that trade talks and rumors stopped completely. The Dodgers and the Twins simply couldn’t agree on the other players to be involved. Until today, there really wasn’t anything new to report on the deal. La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune changed all of that today though when he reported that the Twins are asking for final offers from any interested teams. More importantly, Neal reported that the Dodgers have insisted that the trade be a one-for-one swap of De Leon and Dozier and that they “haven’t blinked.”
This is the part of the report that was most surprising to me as Dozier is a seemingly perfect fit in Los Angeles next year (and hopefully for years to come).
The Dodgers do not have a second baseman right now. Sure, they have a few options if you consider Enrique Hernandez, Austin Barnes, Charlie Culberson, Chris Taylor, and Micah Johnson legitimate options. But realistically Johnson is the only player with much upside in that group. Hernandez has shown glimpses of being a solid player but as of now is just a very good bench player/utility man, Barnes should be focusing on his backup catching duties now that he has officially earned that title, and Culberson best Dodgers moment is already behind him.
More importantly, the Dodgers desperately need right handed power in their lineup as well as power at the second base position. Last year the Dodgers finished dead last in all of Major League Baseball with a .622 OPS against left-handers. They also saw a total of only 18 home runs from all second baseman combined last season. Dozier would fix both of those issues instantly. Not only would his 42 home runs be over double that of all Dodgers second baseman last season, he would also have led the team ahead of Justin Turner by 15 home runs.
Although anything can happen in October, he could very well be the difference the Dodgers need to give them a much needed push into their first World Series since 1988, especially when you consider that the Dodgers were only 2 wins away in 2016. Outside of including Bellinger or Urias, the Dodgers need to do what it takes to make this happen before the opportunity passes them by.