Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Welcome to the Blue, Brian Dozier!

Here's a deadline deal no one expected.

At long last the Dodgers have gotten the infielder many fans had wished for a couple of years back. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite have the stock value he had back then. Today, he's an under-performing player who has a track record that suggest he could turn things around. Announced this afternoon is a trade that sends our second baseman Logan "Logie Bear" Forsythe, minor leaguers Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer to the Twins for second baseman Brian Dozier.

Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for infielder Logan Forsythe and minor leaguers Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer. 
Dozier, 31, appeared in 104 games with the Twins this season batting .224 with 21 doubles, 16 home runs and 52 RBI. The Mississippi native ranks among Major League second baseman in runs (65, 2nd), hits (92, 7th), doubles (T-8th), home runs (5th), RBI (52, 6th), stolen bases (8, 11th) and walks (46, 2nd). 
An All-Star in 2015 and a Gold Glove winner at second base in 2017, Dozier has a .248 career batting average with 202 doubles, 167 home runs and 491 RBI along with a .772 OPS in 955 games over his seven big league seasons with the Twins. He has spent the majority of his career as the leadoff hitter, slashing .269/.310/.522 in 519 games and has belted 28 career leadoff home runs, which is currently the fifth most among active players. Since the start of the 2014 season, Dozier led the Twins in games (724), hits (717), runs scored (488), home runs (143), RBI (392) and walks (335). He has also led the Twins in home runs in each of the last five seasons (18 in 2013, 23 in '14, 28 in '15, 42 in '16 & 34 in '17), while also becoming the club's all-time leader in homers at second base with 167 longballs. 
Dozier was originally selected by the Twins in the eighth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi.
You should expect Dozier to be the everyday second baseman from here on out. Best yet, he is known as a second half player, so we should all cross our fingers in hopes that this hold true.

Below are some links to other stories regarding this trade:
There will be no cash exchanged in the deal according to reports. Dozier is in the final year of a four year, $20 million deal, while Forsythe was on the end of his club option year at $9 million. This saves the Dodgers money since Dozier counts for $5 million against the tax threshold they’re trying to stay under, while Forsythe counts for the full contract amount.
His struggles so far this season can be (partially) attributed to a .252 BABIP — 48 points lower than last season and 30 points lower than 2016. He’s still hitting the ball hard — 35.3 Hard%, up from 34.1 and 34.7 the previous two seasons — and he’s still elevating (44.9 FB%). His line drive rate is down about 4 percent from last season, but there are still encouraging signs that Dozier could be in line for a strong second half.
Dozier is predictable and established at second. While he hasn’t been a high average hitter, he can provide solid pop at the position. He also has years of experience at second base. Muncy hasn’t played much at that position, so the Dodgers may have taken defense into consideration with the move.
Of course, at his best, Dozier was quite arguably among the top second basemen in the game, hitting .269/.349/.522 with 76 home runs, 65 doubles and nine triples in 1396 plate appearances with Minnesota from 2016-17. That hasn’t been the case in 2018, clearly, but the Dodgers will hope for a return to form. Furthermore, given his status as a rental player, the cost of acquisition paid by the Dodgers wasn’t overly steep.
While Dozier’s plate-discipline metrics and batted-ball statistics all resemble those he’s produced in previous seasons, a significantly lower xwOBA speaks to a dramatic decrease in exit velocity. Dozier is 31 years old, on the decline side of the aging curve. While he appears to be a useful piece, his best days are behind him; the Dodgers can’t be expecting vintage Dozier production, but in light of injuries, this helps. He represents a one-win upgrade over Forsythe (who’s projected for 0.1 WAR the rest of the way).
In celebration of this trade I made a couple of custom fantasy baseball card of Dozier. Check them out at the very top.

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