Brian Dozier’s short tenure for the Dodgers didn’t go as one would hope. It seemed like Dozier aged several seasons all in a few months – which led to a stunted performance over 47 games in Los Angeles after the deadline trade.
Perhaps now we have reason for Dozier’s struggles in 2018. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports recently provided an interesting report that had not previously been mentioned anywhere. As Heyman tells it, Dozier was playing hurt.
Brian Dozier toughed it out and played with a severe bone bruise all 2018, which explains his uncharacteristic season …
Still, it is fair to call Dozier’s 2018 ‘uncharacteristic’. Dozier did manage 21 homers and 12 steals over parts of the season with the Twins and Dodgers. However, his .696 season OPS was the lowest in any full season he’s played in the major leagues. What’s more, it’s important to remember that Dozier will still just be 32 years old in 2019. In many conversations I heard Dodgers fans say he was towards the back nine in his career – believing he was in his late 30’s. Not the case.
Injury can make a player perform unlike their normal self. It would be interesting to learn when the bone bruise occurred and how long Dozier was playing with the injury. Moreover, it would be great to see what Dozier could do over a full season when healthy. During the 2016 and 2017 seasons combined, he hit 76 home runs and stole 34 bases.
Dozier remains a free agent, and there has been little said of his future with the Dodgers or another team thus far.
One must appreciate Dozier’s willingness to quietly play through the injury for the Dodgers. This shows a player’s true grit and toughness. It should never be questioned how important it was for Dozier’s first act with the Dodgers to go well. It would have been easy for Dozier to give an excuse for his poor play, but he never did that. Nevertheless, his first season as a Dodger should be remembered with some fondness for this act of selflessness for his teammates and the organization. In a game with lagging disabled list stints at every turn, Dozier left everything he had on the field in 2018; literally.
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