What’s the backup if he goes after 2018?
If Brian Dozier leaves, there will be two major holes left with the Twins – second base and leadoff. How will the Twins fill each?
On the 2017 Minnesota Twins team, five players finished with 100 plate appearances and a .350 or better on base percentage. Dozier was one of those. Two others are free agents after 2018. If the Twins are looking for a leadoff hitter among their current hitters, it’d likely be a step forward from Byron Buxton.
Coming up in the minor league system is Zack Granite, but he would need a position to play, and the Twins have their outfield set with young players. Nick Gordon has the ability to take a walk and is a quality base runner that could profile at the top of the lineup.
Otherwise, the Twins would be likely seeking a leadoff hitter that could play third base and push Miguel Sano permanently to DH or could DH himself.
The leadoff issue will be much more of a problem to replace than a second baseman. We’ve covered the minor leaguers in the system who could cover second base in the future previously.
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The free agent market at second base will be intriguing if the Twins determine that Dozier is too expensive and choose to go for a less expensive route.
Elvis Andrus will have the option of opting out of his current contract with the Rangers. The Twins could pursue him as a leadoff man to play short and slide Polanco over to second base.
If the team was looking for a short-term cheaper option, someone like Jed Lowrie could end up being a good choice. While Daniel Murphy is likely going to get a significant deal and is not in Dozier’s class defensively, DJ LeMahieu has quality contact skills and glove work and could end up being a fit.
The Twins could also pursue the trade market, with a team like the Phillies having a logjam at the position already that could benefit the Twins next offseason.
Whatever the route the Minnesota Twins end up taking with Dozier, they do have plenty to consider in the move. While a move around some of their other free agents next offseason will be more cut-and-dry, the decision to retain Dozier or not will be a very intriguing one to watch develop.