Brian Dozier was acquired from the Minnesota Twins just before the non-waiver trade deadline.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 31, 2018
He was viewed as a second base replacement for the chronically under-performing Logan Forsythe. In return, the Twins received Forsythe and minor leaguers Devin Smeltzer and Luke Raley.
It was a pretty straightforward and sensible trade, albeit one with a substantive bit of history to it. Dozier had been linked to the Dodgers in trade talks as far back as 2016. Those rumors resurfaced near the July 2017 deadline.
Additionally, it made for another strong installment in the surprisingly rich history of transactions between the Twins and Dodgers. It must be noted the Twins are my favorite A.L. team, and I may someday delve into that in a future article, 1965, trade history and all.
Given how long Dozier had been rumored to come to the Dodgers, it was only fitting his actual arrival be delayed by L.A. traffic. Luckily, he didn’t delay showing why he was acquired, blasting a home run in his Dodger debut on August 2 against Milwaukee.
— MLB (@MLB) August 2, 2018
Regular Season Recap
In addition to (seemingly) being a clear upgrade over Forsythe, another key impetus for acquiring “Doz” was his penchant for playing his best in the second half of the season. However, that second half surge never materialized, and Dozier slumped horribly with a .182 batting average alongside just 5 homers and 20 RBI.
In a truly inexplicable twist, Forsythe ended up performing better in Minneapolis with a .258 average in 50 games.
There is, however, a likely explanation for these meager numbers. Dozier recently revealed he was playing with a “severe” bone bruise, which would ostensibly explain his dip in quality.
Despite his underwhelming stats, Dozier didn’t lack for individual highlights. His finest regular season moment came on August 15 against the Giants, lifting a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 12th inning.
This sac fly was significant as it ended yet another multi-game skid against a bad team… Of course, the 2018 Dodgers endured so many of those, it’s forgivable to forget about that particular one.
How’d He Do in October?
After getting a brief taste of the postseason with Minnesota in the 2017 A.L. Wild Card Game, Dozier got to enjoy an extended run in October 2018, all the way to the World Series. However, given the team’s sturdy reliance on platooning, he saw limited action through all three rounds.
He had a grand total of two at-bats in the NLDS against Atlanta, managing a single and a strikeout. The seven-game NLCS war with the Brewers provided more opportunities, but he answered with an unimpressive .111 and 2 RBI.
He did, however, drive in the first run of the epic, 13-inning fourth game.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 17, 2018
In the World Series, Dozier earned surprising starts in games one and two at Fenway Park, likely due to his experience in the A.L. Unfortunately, he didn’t make much of the opportunity, going hitless in five at-bats throughout the series (albeit with three walks). His greatest highlight was arguably his demonic face while awaiting Muncy at home plate at the end of the marathon third game.
What Lies Ahead
Dozier is yet another entry in the staggering free agent class of 2018. He’ll be turning 32 next year, and will cause teams concern with his recent injury history.
Given Dozier’s second half power and positive clubhouse presence, there’s a good case to be made for the team banking on a healthy bounce back next year.
If not, there are plenty of free agent options to replace him, among them D.J. LeMahieu and Jed Lowrie. Either way, the Dodgers have strong options to ensure second base is in good hands in 2019.
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