Minnesota Twins Rumors: More Teams in Pursuit of Brian Dozier
There is growing interest in the services of Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.
The Brian Dozier sweepstakes is on.
At the beginning of the month I wrote about the trade rumors surrounding Dozier. In the article, I looked at teams with below average second baseman atop the respective team’s depth chart.
Earlier this week, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN tweeted out additional information regarding Dozier trade rumors.
Dozier update: told LAD still very much in it. Here's the new wrinkle: STL very much in it, + Nats & Giants remain in dialogue. #MNTwins
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) December 26, 2016
The Saint Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants join the Los Angeles Dodgers as known teams with strong interest in Dozier.
It’s time to see what the other teams can offer.
Saint Louis Cardinals
Mark Saxson of ESPN tweeted out additional information regarding the Cardinals interest in Dozier.
I'm told the #STLCards are not actively pursuing Brian Dozier. That doesn't mean there hasn't been contact at some point, of course.
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) December 27, 2016
While the Cardinals may not be actively pursuing Dozier, it doesn’t mean they won’t attempt to beat the Dodgers in the Dozier sweepstakes.
More from Puckett's Pond
A potential trade could be:
Cardinals trade: RHP Luke Weaver, RHP Sandy Alcantara and 2B Kolten Wong
Luke Weaver ranks as the second best prospect and the second best pitching prospect in the Cardinals system. He also ranks No. 81 in the top 100 overall prospects in baseball.
While he didn’t pitch well at the major league level last season, Weaver has climbed the ranks quickly just get to the majors. He pitched in his first professional game in 2014 and two seasons later he appears major league-ready.
In 197 2/3 innings pitched in the minor leagues, Weaver has 192 strikeouts and 35 walks. Personally, pitcher’s minor league ERA’s don’t mean much. Yet, his 1.78 ERA is hard to ignore.
Another starting pitcher with good strike out ability in the Cardinals system is Sandy Alcantara. In 243 2/3 innings pitched, Alcantara has 259 strikeouts.
One minus is that he walks batters at a much higher rate than Weaver. Alcantara’s minor league BB/9 is 3.6, while Weaver’s is a lowly 1.6.
Despite the walks, Alcantara keeps his hit totals low. With every call-up, he has lowered his H/9 rate from 8.9 in rookie ball to 7.0 last year in High-A.
Jul 2, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) hits a two run triple off of Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The third piece in the trade is the Cardinals’ own second baseman, Kolten Wong.
The Cardinals have a crowded infield. If the Twins trade Dozier to Saint Louis, Wong figures to be the odd man out.
Wong has not become the star Cardinals fans thought he would be. Nonetheless, he is a decent player and second baseman.
When diving into the statistics, Wong is nearly identical to Eduardo Escobar. At the plate and in the field the two players are a carbon copy.
Overall, this trade proposal has some kinks to work out. Wong is under contract until 2020 with a team option in 2021.
Certainly, the Twins might be against receiving another Escobar in a deal for Dozier, especially since Jorge Polanco looks to take over second if indeed Dozier is traded.
Yet, the Cardinals have a talented group of prospects to “wow” the Twins, but the question is whether the Cardinals would add another infielder with so many already.
After the trade for Adam Eaton, one would think the Nationals have little left to give in terms of top prospects.
But Washington’s well isn’t dry. The Twins can still garner a big haul in return for Dozier from the Nationals, if it’s a serious buyer.
A potential trade could be:
Nationals trade: RHP Austin Voth, OF Rafael Bautista and RHP Joe Ross
Austin Voth is one of the remaining pitching prospects who is major league-ready. At 24-years-old, Voth has yet to make his MLB debut. Despite this, he appears ready to start in a major league rotation in 2017.
Voth has made 20 plus starts in the last three seasons and pitched more than 150 innings in each of the last two. Pitching in Double-A in 2015 and Triple-A in 2016, Voth’s numbers remained relatively the same. That bodes well as he attempts to make the jump to the majors.
The second prospect in this trade proposal is young outfielder Rafael Bautista.
The best tool in Bautista’s arsenal is his speed. He has 224 stolen bases in 455 minor league games and stolen base success rate of 84 percent.
Buyer beware, Bautista will turn 24 before the start of next season. He seems destined to become a fourth outfielder having not played in Triple-A. His ceiling appears limited to a slightly more powerful Ben Revere.
The most interesting chip in this trade proposal is Joe Ross.
Ross, 23, already has two years of major league experience. Last season, he increased his innings and his pitching rates didn’t see a spike.
In 2015, Ross owned a 7.5 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.1 K/9. The only rate to see a noticeable change in 2016 was his H/9, which increased slightly to 9.3.
The Nationals could still make a trade for Dozier, even after the Eaton trade. The Nationals are in a similar situation as the Cardinals. Both teams have plenty of infielders, and both need to narrow the gap between them and the Chicago Cubs.
It would be shocking if the Nationals shipped off any more infielders on the roster to make room for Dozier. Needless to say, there would be some major reshuffling to do with Dozier on the team. But, if Washington wants to try to win before All-World Bryce Harper potentially leaves, Dozier might be their missing piece.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants appear to have the least to offer in a trade. Like the two previous teams, the Giants have a set infield for 2017. Adding Dozier would only complicate things.
The rival Dodgers have much more to offer the Twins than the Giants. Like the Cardinals and Nationals, the Giants don’t particularly need Dozier but would improve with him on the roster.
A potential trade could be:
Giants trade: LHP Andrew Suarez, OF Dylan Davis and 2B Joe Panik
Andrew Suarez isn’t the best starting pitcher compared to the other pitching prospects of the Cardinals and Nationals. Not a great way to advertise a trade, but Suarez has some potential worth waiting for.
Suarez pitched primarily in Double-A last season. The only statistic that drastically changed was his H/9. He might wind up being a better reliever in the future, but he pitches well enough remain a starter.
Overall, Suarez profiles as a future James Paxton.
Although the Twins already have a number of young outfielders coming up through the system, adding one more doesn’t hurt anything. Dylan Davis is a good fit for any team who is looking for outfielders with power bats.
Davis is just now developing into a solid player. In each of his three seasons, he has improved his slash line. He’s hitting for more power as well.
Last season, Davis hit eight home runs and 17 doubles in 236 at-bats in Low-A. After his call-up to High-A, Davis hit 18 home runs and 10 doubles in 248 at-bats, which translated to a 48 point increase in slugging percentage. This bodes well for his future as he climbs the ranks.
The Giants would most likely include Joe Panik in a trade for Dozier. Panik had somewhat of a down year offensively in 2016. He slashed .239/.315/.379 but drove in a career high 62 RBI.
Last season he won a Gold Glove Award and was named an All-Star in 2015. The value is there for Panik, but it isn’t at its peak.
The Dodgers have more major league-ready pitching than the teams mentioned.
It seems extremely likely that the Twins are using the interest other teams are showing as leverage.
Ultimately, the Twins could trade Dozier to any team with young, talented pitching. Yet all of this seems like a ploy to scare the Dodgers into giving more than what its willing to give up. It’s all about maximizing the value of Dozier. The Twins front office appears to be trying to do that.