The Dodgers Acquire Subpar Dozier for More Subpar Forsythe

Brian Dozier is running… into the postseason!
(Photo: Keith Allison)

After arriving in the majors back in 2012 as a relatively unheralded prospect, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier entered the 2018 campaign having produced five consecutive above-average seasons. The All-Star middle infielder’s 2016-17 performance (11.2 WAR) places him second among qualified second basemen during that time, behind none other than Jose Altuve. Even accounting for his 2018 struggles — a relative term, since he is still tracking for league-average performance — Dozier ranks third among all second basemen over the last three calendar years, trailing Altuve by a sizable margin and Robinson Cano by a half-win.

Roughly two-thirds of the way through a season in which the Twins expected to contend — having acquired Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison, Addison Reed (among others) all at market value or less — the Twins haven’t succeeded on that front, having struggled in a very weak AL Central. They find themselves seven games under .500 and trail the Indians by eight full games; as you might expect, they are expected to be less productive than the Indians for the remainder of the season, too.

With that serving as background, the club dealt one of their central pieces today. A combination of ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and NBC LA’s Michael Duarte reported the deal, as follows.

Dodgers get:

  • 2B Brian Dozier

Twins get:

From the Dodgers’ side of things, the return represents an obvious upgrade over Logan Forsythe, whose negative half-win contribution thus far this season is not ideal in a scenario where every game counts. Dozier, meanwhile, is a player who has quietly outperformed his peers over the past half-decade. His 2018 xwOBA of .293 ranks in just the 13th percentile (min. 250 PA), yet our projection systems are more optimtistic, calling for him to produce a batting line 10% better than average over the rest of the season. He’s projected for just over a win before the season’s end under control for just this season, which sounds about right for a bounce-back candidate with his pedigree.

While Dozier’s plate-discipline metrics and batted-ball statistics all resemble those he’s produced in previous seasons, a significantly lower xwOBA speaks to a dramatic decrease in exit velocity. Dozier is 31 years old, on the decline side of the aging curve. While he appears to be a useful piece, his best days are behind him; the Dodgers can’t be expecting vintage Dozier production, but in light of injuries, this helps. He represents a one-win upgrade over Forsythe (who’s projected for 0.1 WAR the rest of the way).

The Twins will take a chance on a Logan Forsythe bounceback here, too, and attempt to flip him next month to a contender in need of a utility defensive upgrade. The Twins have at-bats and playing time to give, and Forsythe could begin hitting again.

Devin Smeltzer is a left-handed starter with a 7.21 K/9 and a 2.04 BB/9 as a 22-year old in Double-A, but a pedestrian fastball limits his ability to start long-term. Our prospect analysts give him a presently above-average changeup and curveball, though, with both progressing to plus as well as 50 future command. It’s a 40 FV and perhaps that’s a situational bullpen arm moving forward, if Smeltzer progresses as expected. He’s not someone the Dodgers will miss, though.

Raley is a 23-year-old first-baseman for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate slashing .275/.345/.477 for a 119 wRC+. He made Eric Longenhagen’s “fliers with big pop” category on the Dodgers list in May, a possible future bench piece per continued development.

The Dodgers, really, won’t miss any of the return surrendered. With a strong player development system, the organization routinely churns out players with more to offer than when they arrived. For two months of Brian Dozier, I have to imagine other front offices are seeing similar things to what I have laid out in this piece. The Angels received two high-octane relievers for two months of Ian Kinsler, and the Phillies received Franklyn Kilome, a 50 FV starting pitcher who landed on Eric and Kiley’s midseason prospect list. The Dodgers have to be content with themselves at this moment, giving up three extraneous pieces — pieces they didn’t need — for a capable starting second baseman who’ll help during the stretch run. The Twins, on the other hand, are banking on both a Forsythe turnaround and a miracle in player development.

We hoped you liked reading The Dodgers Acquire Subpar Dozier for More Subpar Forsythe by Rahul Setty!

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A finance student in the lovable armpit of Orange County, Rahul Setty spends his time following the Angels, writing for Halos Heaven, and derives joy from Mike Trout's on-base percentage which is, thankfully, always high. You can reach him on Twitter @RahulSetty_.

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HandsomeBoyModel
Member
HandsomeBoyModel

The Twins two years ago wanted either Bellinger or Bueller for Dozier but the Dodgers offered Jose De Leon. The Twins balked so the Dodgers traded De Leon for Forsythe. Two years later the Dodgers traded Forsythe for Dozier.

showerdeer
Member
showerdeer

I mean De Leon didn’t exactly work out.

HandsomeBoyModel
Member
HandsomeBoyModel

Hey, he got the Dodgers Dozier.

DavePomerantz
Member
DavePomerantz

De Leon is still only 25 and has 3 or 4 years of team control left. Still plenty of time for him to work out, but a Tommy John will sure take the shine off a prospect.

showerdeer
Member
showerdeer

That’s not the only thing in his injury history…

sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

I thought they wanted Alvarez and de Leon. If so, the Dodgers missed out.

drewcorb
Member
drewcorb

To be fair, I think the Twins are happy they had Dozier last year and the Dodgers probably wish they did.