This morning, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that a source has the Twins continually working towards an extension with Brian Dozier. Their second basemen has quickly vaulted himself into the category of the best in the business, and he is looking at a payday to compensate him for that. The question is just how much the check should be written for.
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When looking to compare Dozier to other players, Berardino chose to look at Kyle Seager, Todd Frazier, and Jedd Gyorko. Of the group, on the Padres Gyorko is also a seconds basemen. After the Twins locked down Phil Hughes to an extension this offseason, the next likely player to receive a payday would be Brian Dozier. Berardino’s report suggests that to also be true.
This season, Dozier is making somewhere in the range of $580-600,000 on a one year deal with the Twins. At just 28 years old in May, locking Dozier down long-term would seem to make sense for the Twins. This is a subject that we have looked at extensively when investigating exactly what Dozier brings to the table for the Twins.
In a piece dissecting his 2014 season with the Twins, we noted:
"In 2013, Dozier hit 18 home runs while slashing .244/.312/.726. His continued growth allowed him to strike out nearly the same amount, but to develop an advanced understanding of the plate, and nearly double his amount of walks (51 in 2013, 89 in 2014). Although many will point to Dozier’s average (career .241) as a weakness, it really doesn’t matter if it increases considering the clip he gets on base (.345 in 2014). The fact that Dozier brings an advanced slugging ability, scores, and drives in runs from the second base position, makes him amongst the most valuable players in the game.Last season AL Central foe, Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians, was signed to a six-year, $52.5 million contract. At the same age as Brian Dozier, Kipnis went on to hit .240/.310/.330 with just six home runs, 41 runs batted in, and 61 runs scored. While those numbers were significantly down from his career average, Kipnis’ .284 average in 2013 was more the exception than the norm. Although Kipnis should bounce back in 2015 for the Indians, he likely will fall somewhere in between the two sample sizes.With Brian Dozier looking like a prime candidate for an extension, locking him up to a long-term deal somewhere in the neighborhood of money that Kipnis was given, is something the Twins should feel comfortable with. Not only is he a top-tier talent at a position that lacks much of it, be he has stayed consistent throughout the time he has spent in the major leagues. Continuing to project forward, the notion should be that there is not much room up or down that any of Dozier’s statistical outputs waver."
When trying to figure out where Brian Dozier would fall for the Twins in terms of a new contract, Berardino reasons:
"The Twins, no doubt, would seek to use Dozier’s disappointing rookie season in 2012 to drive down the cost of an extension, but at the very least he would appear to be in line for something in the range of a four-year, $20 million contract.That assumes a 2015 pre-arbitration salary of $600,000, followed by arbitration-year guarantees of $3 million, $6 million and $9 million. Should the Twins seek to tack on a couple of club options, which has become fairly standard in these early-career extensions, they might seek to lock up Dozier at a figure around $12 million in both 2019 and 2020.Throw in a $1 million buyout on those options, and we’re at $19.6 million for four years of Dozier cost certainty ($4.9 million average annual value) with the possibility of keeping him in the Twin Cities through 2020 at a total of $42.6 million over six years ($7.1 million AAV)."
Looking at the deal proposed above, it would seem to be something the Twins should be ecstatic about. Comparing the two points (Kipnis statement above, and the breakdown of Dozier’s worth), the Twins would seemingly be getting a solid deal. Not only are they locking down their starting second basemen, but they are doing so at roughly $10 million less than a player at the same position that Dozier has proved far more valuable than.
Expect the contract talks to continue for Brian Dozier and the Twins throughout Spring Training. This would seem to be something that the Twins would want to get done, and make a lot of sense for them to do so. At this point, I’d argue that anything less than $50 million is an absolute win for both sides.