Dodgers Offseason: Brian Dozier is A Great Fit for Dodgers

After addressing the rotation by re-signing Rich Hill on Monday, the Dodgers can turn their focus to other roster needs during the Winter Meetings. Although the most pressing issues for the front office to the dress involve either re-signing or replacing impending free agents Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, the Dodgers also have a gaping hole at second base. That hole likely isn't getting filled by anyone on the 2016 roster. Howie Kendrick has been traded to the Phillies (and played more left field last season anyway), Charlie Culberson and Kike Hernandez are platoon players at most, and the Dodgers don't seem in any hurry to re-sign 37-year-old Chase Utley. With no top free agents on the market at the position, the Dodgers are understandably looking at second basemen available in trade. Enter Brian Dozier:

If you haven't heard of Brian Dozier before now, that's probably because he played for a Minnesota Twins team that had over 100 losses in 2016. That had little to do with Dozier's performance, though. The second baseman earned his first All-Star nod last season, slashing .268/.340/.546 with a 132 wRC+. Translation: he's really good at hitting baseballs. More specifically, though, he's really good at hitting left-handed pitching, which was a well-documented struggle for the Dodgers last year. Although I personally doubt that the current core's struggles against lefties will be as pronounced in 2017 as it was in 2016, the Dodgers' lineup is still heavily skewed to the left side of the plate. Re-signing Turner would obviously help (and isn't mutually exclusive to a Dozier trade), but even he typically hits righties harder than lefties. 

Dozier, on the other hand, had a .965 OPS and 150 wRC+ against left-handed pitching in 2016. Those marks were the seventh and ninth-highest in all of baseball, respectively. He can also hit anywhere in the order, which is no doubt an attractive option to Dave Roberts. Even more attractive is Dozier's contract, especially if the Dodgers are serious about continuing to shed payroll. He's only owed $15 million over the next two seasons, and $9 million of that is in 2018. He'd be an extremely cost-effective option there, but the Twins know that.

Minnesota reportedly wants young pitching in return, which means we get another round of trade rumors centered on Jose De Leon. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable trading De Leon; personally, I'm really high on him and the fact that he's still a Dodger means somebody in that front office is, too. Willie Calhoun, the Dodgers' #4 prospect according to MLB.com who's also a hard-hitting second baseman, also makes a lot of sense. The Dodgers' farm system is far less pitching-heavy than it's been in recent years thanks to both promotions (De Leon, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling) and trades (Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes), but L.A. still has some enticing young arms that could interest the Twins.

A Brian Dozier trade not only seems realistic, but almost perfect for the Dodgers. He's not going to take a toll on the shrinking payroll, and he hits lefties as well as nearly anyone else in baseball. Trades are a two-way street, and the Dodgers may be too uncomfortable with the Twins' asking price for their all-star. With that said, don't be surprised of Dozier is in Dodger Blue come Opening Day 2017.