Dodgers Team News

The Failed ‘Brian Dozier to Dodgers’ Trade: Q&A with Brandon Warne of Cold Omaha

Los Angeles swung a deal with Tampa Bay for second baseman Logan Forsythe on Jan. 23. But the trade wasn’t the Dodgers’ initial preference. That was acquiring Minnesota Twins slugger Brian Dozier.

The Dodgers and Twins negotiated for over a month this winter. Talks grew public and “drawn-out” as neither team would budge on its request. L.A. reportedly wanted a one-for-one swap of Jose De Leon for Brian Dozier. Minnesota reportedly wanted more, including a package of De Leon, Yadier Alvarez and Willie Calhoun at one point.

In the end, Los Angeles got its one-for-one from Tampa Bay. The Twins elected to keep the fan favorite Dozier, at least for the start of the 2017 season.

After so much back-and-forth, and with both sides matching up well, it’s a surprise no agreement was eventually reached. We talked to Brandon Warne of Cold Omaha to see the situation from the Twins’ point of view.

1) Was Minnesota shopping Brian Dozier strictly as a sell high opportunity? Affordable for two prime seasons and a fan favorite, it seems he’d be more of a guy to build around.

That’s basically it. He’ll turn 30 this year, so he doesn’t exactly fit into the youth movement with guys like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler, but at his production level and financial level, it made sense for the Twins to at least see what he might attract on the market. Unfortunately, the market is pretty narrow for second basemen. But if people on Twitter know that Dozier is unlikely to put up numbers again like 2016, you’d better believe teams are clearly aware of that, too. It also helped that the Twins have a ready-made replacement at second base in Jorge Polanco, who’ll likely open the season as the starting shortstop now.


[graphiq id=”kCe4CkREm33″ title=”Brian Dozier” width=”500″ height=”809″ url=”″ ]

2) How much of an anomaly was Dozier’s second half? Do you think the Twins initially felt they needed to capitalize on that now, especially with the risk Dozier starts slow in 2017?
It’s a fairly big anomaly, but so too was his pre-breakout slump. He’s never been that hot as a hitter before — he set the club record for extra-base hits — but he’s always been sort of streaky, and this one just turned into about a four-month stretch where no one could get him out. I think a fair, reasonable hope for the Twins is that he can be somewhere in the middle of his last two seasons. Maybe a .850 OPS which would be more power heavy than OBP.
3) How would his power have transferred to Dodger Stadium, in your opinion?
Decently well. Target Field is a much better park for RH HR power (106 park factor via StatCorner) than Dodger Stadium (93), but most of Dozier’s home runs are pulled right down the line to left field and would get out in almost any stadium, I’d wager. Of his 42 home runs, 36 came to the pull side. I think that’d still transfer over decently.


[graphiq id=”cczFtSlK6BT” title=”Brian Dozier Career Batting Triple Slash” width=”640″ height=”570″ url=”” ]

4) Obviously the trade rumors and discussions were “drawn-out,” in the words of Dodgers Pres. Andrew Friedman, and very public. Did Minnesota overplay its hand in negotiations?
I’d say they stood their ground. They never put up a for sale sign on Dozier, but simply made it known the right amount could entice them to move him and did not back down from it. That’s a commendable stance from a first-time executive like Derek Falvey, who no doubt would say he had lots of help from his right-hand man, Thad Levine, who did this sort of stuff for years with the Rangers.
5) The Dodgers clearly felt a one-for-one swap of Jose De Leon for Dozier was reasonable. Why didn’t the Twins?
There’s a ton of risk in young pitching while Dozier is a relatively stable asset. The Twins saw that risk first hand with Jose Berrios — in a lot of ways a comparable prospect — much like the Dodgers saw De Leon struggle a bit, but not as much, in his first go-round. The Twins need young pitching more than anything else, but it’s also the most volatile asset in today’s game. I think the Twins wisely held out for more, and
the Dodgers did well to get Forsythe, who in a lot of ways is pre-breakout Dozier. That’s a really nice player.

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6) It’s odd the two teams couldn’t come to terms given L.A.’s surplus of pitching and defense. What do you think would’ve gotten a deal done?
Probably something like De Leon, Brock Stewart and maybe a minor third piece? Maybe Imani Abdullah or Chase De Jong? My perfect deal at the outset was JDL, Stewart and an outfielder. I like Toles and Thompson. I was always pretty modest about that, and I think Dodgers fans who saw my writing or heard my podcast appreciated that. I really did think the teams lined up nicely, though. The Dodgers have so much talent and not enough 40-man space to house it all in the years to come, in my opinion.
7) Do you anticipate the Twins shopping Dozier again at the deadline? Interest seemed to be low outside of the Dodgers. It’s reasonable to wonder if Minnesota can get the package it wants considering few contenders have a need there.
Yeah, Polanco isn’t going anywhere soon and so if they can get enough for Dozier I think they’d still move him. I think a middle infield of Polanco and Nick Gordon perhaps as soon as next year would appeal to the Twins, especially if the return from Dozier moves the needle forward in another position of need. It’ll maybe take an injury or someone underperforming to get the market to loosen up a bit, or maybe they can get the Braves interested. He’d be an absolute hero down there. That’ll be one Ozzie Albies, please! (Kidding. Kind of.)
Brandon can be followed on Twitter at @Brandon_Warne. You can read his work at @ColdOmahaMN.

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Gabe Burns

Gabe Burns is an award-winning journalist. He serves as a reporter and editor at the DodgersNation news desk. He additionally works as editor-in-chief of The Spectator, Valdosta State University's student paper. Gabe's work has been featured on a number of platforms, including Draft Breakdown and Pro Football Spot. His byline has been cited in media such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Aside from covering Dodgers baseball, Gabe enjoys watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Lightning. He can be followed on Twitter at @GabeBurns_DN.

One Comment

  1. One for one was a ridiculous trade obviously in favor of the Dodgers.2 pitchers for Dozier might have worked but Blue was too stubborn. How did Minnesota go from second in division to one of the worst,

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