Dec. 29, 2016
Cardinals Looking Way North To Minnesota For A Power Bat ~ Twins Brian Dozier
With the off-season signing of CF Dexter Fowler by the St. Louis Cardinals, fans still clamoring for a "bat" to increase their offensive power. Reported yesterday from the MLB Trade Rumors, Mark Polishuk broke the news. Cardinals are showing interest in American League Minnesota Twins 29 year old 2B Brian Dozier. Could this be the answer Cardinals fans are looking for? In my opinion, I would take this young player in a heartbeat. Other team's interested, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and "maybe" the Washington Nationals. However, last reported, the Nationals made inquires; but, not necessarily in hot pursuit.
Dozier, in his five seasons with the Twins, made his debut May, 2012. He was an All Star in 2015; and, in the MVP running in both 2015 (28th) and in 2016 (13th). He closed this past season with a .268 BA/.340 OBP/.546 SLG/.886 OPS, with a 6.5 WAR which was ninth highest in the American League. Impressively, in 2016, he totaled 42 HR/99 RBI. Against National League pitchers last season: Atlanta Braves: .263 BA. Miami Marlins: .500 BA. Philadelphia Phillies: .385; and, the Milwaukee Brewers: .294 average. However, the New York Mets held him to a .214 BA and the Nationals held him to an average of .143. Overall, he definitely is a threat at the plate. He hits and throws from the right. Against right hand pitchers, he held a .264 BA. From the left, a .282 - his consistency is impressive. And, Dozier hits in the #4 spot ~ a .295 BA/.349 OBP/.606 SLG/.955 OPS. Cardinals clean-up batter extraordinaire has been found, in my opinion.
He is a second baseman by trade; but, can play at shortstop, also. Last season, he was fourth highest in the AL with double plays made at 2B, totaling 118. He had 286 put-outs, with 419 assists. At the middle bag, he did commit eight errors for his season .989 Fldg%. Dozier has two years left on his contract with the Twins totaling $15 MM, no team option; and, would be a free agent in 2019. The Cardinals can easily cover that plus a respectable amount for a minimum five year contract with an added one or two season team option.
But, what would the Cardinals have to give up in return? The Twins needs: starting pitcher, catcher and a left fielder; with, possibly a reliever thrown in. Cardinals do have prospects they could deal to solidify this deal. Even with that said, would Cardinals Nation want to see Rookie Alex Reyes dealt away? He was lethal in 2016 for the Cardinals, pitching 46 innings closing with 4-1/1.57 ERA, both in a starting and relief role. But, has yet to go a full season. Now will be the time for "fans" to come to grips with power at the plate? Or, retain power from the hill. Prospect catcher Carson Kelly; or, may catcher Eric Fryer be on the move again? Left fielder? Would prospect Harrison Bader be mentioned in a deal? A reliever? Rumors have been the Cardinals are shopping Trevor Rosenthal as a possible trading chip.
Of course, the bottomline will come from the Cardinals organization. Even with that said, whoever they decide to put on their travel list, you can bet it's not the right bottomline deal fans wanted to see to get a "power bat". Baseball fan-ship is a very strange critter sitting in the cheap seats.
The Cardinals still hold faith in their current second baseman, Kolton Wong. But Cardinals fans do not hold such faith in the young 26 year old who has yet to prove himself at the plate. He is extremely good in the field, but holds a career (four seasons) slash line of .248/.309/.370/.678 at the plate. His career total for home runs and RBI - 28/126 hitting from the southside of the plate. In defense of Wong, last season he only played 635.1 innings at second base. He closed his limited season with a .980 Fldg% with 132 PO/256 A/67 DP. Also equaled Dozier in errors with eight. With signing him to a 5 Yr/$25.5 MM contract in 2016, and that "faith" still has not realized solid offense. Wong is going to be a tough one to move. Another season of bench warming? If Dozier is brought on board, Wong can expect to see more play from inside the dugout, in my opinion.