Minnesota Twins Rumors: Brian Dozier Trade Talks

Aug 13, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier (2) hits his 100th career home run in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier (2) hits his 100th career home run in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The hottest Minnesota Twins rumors involve second baseman Brian Dozier. Which team can offer the best deal?

The trade rumors involving Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier have become more frequent since Thanksgiving.

However, the Twins are not the aggressors in the trade talks. The front office team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are not shopping Dozier around. Rather, they are letting teams attempt to “wow” them with an offer.

After the Twins released third baseman Trevor Plouffe it became clear Falvey and Levine will make any move they deem necessary to improve the team, even if it means getting rid of fan favorites.

Recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers have given trade offers, involving Dozier, to the Twins. The Dodgers seem to be the clear front runners for Minnesota’s second baseman.

Four teams, including the Dodgers, could benefit from a trade for Dozier. These teams all have below-average second basemen, or poor depth at the position.

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With the Twins wanting a high return for Dozier, each team can offer a top 10 prospect along with another top 30 prospect or a young MLB player.

We’ll start with the team with the best chance, and the best package available, and end with the longest of shots.

As always with the Winter Meetings, there could be a mystery team that comes in at the last moment to prove us all wrong. Just ask the Nationals.

They thought Chris Sale would be in D.C. next year, yet today the White Sox surprisingly traded their ace to the Boston Red Sox. If the Twins can get anywhere near what Chicago got in return, they could make huge strides in improving their chances in the A.L. Central.

Los Angeles Dodgers

As previously mentioned, the Dodgers are rumored to be the top team to snag Dozier. The Dodgers did not sign Chase Utley and traded Howie Kendrick, leaving the team in dire need of a second baseman.

The current starting second baseman for the Dodgers is Charlie Culberson. The Dodgers have yet to resign third baseman Justin Turner.

Dozier’s power could make up for Turner’s numbers if he signs elsewhere, and he’s even amenable to making a possible position switch to third base based upon interviews today.

A potential trade could be:

Dodgers trade: RHP Jose De Leon and RHP Chase De Jong/RHP Yimi Garcia

Jose De Leon is a name that has come up a lot. The Twins want a high return and it would get one in De Leon. The No. 2 prospect in the Dodgers organization, and No. 32 rated prospect overall, ranking just ahead of No. 1 Twins prospect Tyler Jay.

Looking at the numbers, De Leon compares similarly to Jose Berrios. Both appeared in the majors with little to no success.

De Leon owns a 3.35 ERA with 446 strikeouts in 330.2 innings in the minors. He is a must have in any Dodgers-Dozier trade.

The second part of a possible trade with the Dodgers involves another starting pitcher.

Chase De Jong isn’t far away from making his MLB debut as he made one start in Triple-A last season. De Jong doesn’t have the same impressive strikeout rate as De Leon but the numbers are solid nonetheless.

In his minor league career, De Jong has 416 strikeouts in 448 1-3 innings with a 3.43 ERA. It’s also worth noting that he gets a lot of flyball outs. While Target Field’s dimensions might fit well with his pitching style, he still might be susceptible to giving up a few too many home runs.

The alternative to De Jong is Yimi Garcia. While he is an effective MLB reliever, Garcia missed nearly all 2016, but is on schedule to return to form in 2017.

In a nutshell, he strikes out more batters than innings pitched, walks very few batters, and keeps hits at a minimum. Something the current Twins bullpen lacks.

It comes down to a decision between Garcia and De Jong as the kicker in a potential trade with De Leon as the lock. Both would benefit the Twins, one as a starter, one as a reliever.

However, De Jong is 22-years-old and would be worth more in the rebuild than Garcia would, given the traditional starter’s overall value to a staff. But the past few post-seasons have shown how important a shutdown bullpen can be to a team’s success.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are in a curious situation to say the least. Last year the team regressed, finishing with a record worse than in 2015. However, the pieces are there to challenge the Giants and Dodgers for the division championship.

The current starting second baseman for the Diamondbacks is Chris Owings. He isn’t a bad player by any means, but the position is the weakest in talent by comparison.

A potential trade could be:

Diamondbacks trade: 3B/SS Dawel Lugo and OF Marcus Wilson/OF Brandon Drury

Dawel Lugo is a young shortstop, who slashed a collective .311/.339/.492 between Single-A advanced and Double-A. He hit 17 home runs and drove in 62 runners as well.

Lugo, at 21, seems to be going through a transition defensively from shortstop to third base. This would bode well for the Twins as the team sorts out its third base depth. Lugo can be an everyday starter at the hot corner by 2019, just as Miguel Sano replaces Joe Mauer at first.

The second half of the trade would include Marcus Wilson or Brandon Drury. Given the choice, Drury makes more sense. Brandon Warne of Cold Omaha sums up why a trade for Drury works for the Twins:

"“Drury was primarily a left fielder for the Diamondbacks in 2016, and hit a solid .282/.329/.458 in 134 games as a 23-year-old. The Diamondbacks have only been around since 1998, but just four 23 year olds have had better offensive seasons than Drury in club history: Justin Upton, Drew, Mark Reynolds and Travis Lee. Grabbing a 23-year-old who can hold his own as a big-league hitter would be huge.”"

Wilson is a young low-level outfielder. He gets on base a lot for a 20-year-old, raising his OBP in each of his three seasons in the minors. He has very little power as his slugging percentage has been lower than his OBP in every season.

The Twins will be committed to Byron Buxton by the time Wilson develops into a decent MLB center fielder. For that reason, Drury paired with Lugo seems to be the more logical trade.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels have plenty of talent to compliment Mike Trout, but need to keep up with the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and even the Seattle Mariners.

In a division full of high scoring teams, adding Dozier to the Angels lineup would make the middle of the order a threat on par with the best.

The current starting second baseman for the Angels is Cliff Pennington, an average defender and not known for his hitting. Dozier would certainly be an upgrade over Pennington in both regards.

A potential trade could be:

Angels trade: LHP Nate Smith and RHP Jesus Castillo/RHP Nick Tropeano

Nate Smith played in Triple-A for the entire 2016 season. His minor league numbers leading up to 2016 look good, making last year look like an outlier. In 150 1-3 innings, Smith ended with a 4.61 ERA, the worst in any complete season up to last year.

Smith, even at 25-years-old, can be a decent starting pitcher. The lefty doesn’t throw hard but does have good off speed pitches. He has exceeded what was expected from him thus far. Who’s to say he can’t keep trending up.

On the lower end of the Angels top 30 prospect list is Jesus Castillo. He is low-level pitcher who is slowly developing into a starter.

He strikes out plenty and has average control. Castillo is very good at keeping the ball in the yard, and at 20-years-old he still has years to develop further.

However, the piece of a possible trade to be excited about is Nick Tropeano.

He K/IP ratio is close to one, and he tends to get more fly ball outs than ground ball outs. Tropeano is not too high of an asking price for Dozier. Remember, the Twins aren’t going to deal him unless the offer “wows” them.

Because Smith’s current ceiling is low for a top five prospect, Castillo and Tropeano would be a better trade, value wise.

Philadelphia Phillies

Right now, the Phillies are clearly in a rebuild. Yet, the team could benefit from adding Dozier through a trade to provide veteran leadership.

The current starting second baseman for the Phillies is Cesar Hernandez. Who? Exactly.

The Phillies ranked dead last among all MLB teams in runs scored and RBI. Additionally, the Phillies ranked low in home runs. In fact, just above potential trade partner number three L.A. Angels at No. 24. Clearly, the team is in need of some offense.

A potential trade could be:

Phillies trade: RHP Franklyn Kilome and RHP Thomas Eshelman/LHP Adam Morgan

Franklyn Kilome spent the entire 2016 season in Single-A. He struck out batters at a K/9 rate of 10.2 last season. Kilome limited the walks and hits after increasing his innings pitched by over 90 innings.

Kilome, 21-years-old, shows promise and will most likely start 2017 in Single-A advanced or Double-A.

Like Kilome, Thomas Eshelman strikes out a lot of batters. Unlike Kilome, Eshelman walks very few batters. It’s hard to not be a fan of a young pitcher who strikes out a lot of batters and walks a minimal amount of batters.

The only troubling stat in Eshelman’s career is his ERA. He owns a 4.26 minor league ERA. Not great for pitcher who has pitched in Double-A. Obviously, Eshelman has location issues.

The Phillies have a few starting pitchers it would like to hold on to. All of them young and poised to help the team rebuild. But, Adam Morgan is one pitcher the Phillies might be willing to trade.

Morgan has two years of MLB experience, both aren’t anything to write home about. He has served up 37 home runs in career 197.2 innings, and he has 5.37 ERA. Quite unsettling, and a hard sell to Twins fans if you’re trading a fan favorite..

The Twins could do better, but the Twins making a Dozier trade with the Phillies in the first place seems far-fetched based upon what Philadelphia has in the minors.

In short, the Phillies have seven prospects rated higher than Kilome. But five of them are outfielders. While the Twins could ask for Roman Quinn, a MLB-ready outfielder, Kilome makes more sense because of the amount of outfielders already coming up in the Twins organization.

Next: Twins Getting the Band Back Together?

If the Twins were looking for an outfielder in return for Dozier, the team would be better served with Drury from the Diamondbacks. Bottom line, the Twins probably won’t mess with the Phillies. It’s down to two, or that mystery team that has yet to show their hand. Or, if some fans had their way, Dozier comes back to Target Field in 2017. Rumors. Gotta love the Winter Meetings.