Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dozier's Expected Extension

Brian Dozier isn't arbitration eligible until next off-season but rumors are already starting to build about a possible extension between the second baseman and the Twins. He is under team control until 2019 when he will be coming off of his age-29 season. There isn't necessarily a rush to get a deal done but a source close to the Twins said to expect an extension in place before the season's start.

What would a Dozier extension look like?
Last year the Cleveland Indians locked up their All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis to $52.5 million, six-year contract. The deal also included a club option for a seventh year. If the Twins followed a similar format, they would be buying out all of Dozier's arbitration years and paying for his first couple years of free agency.

Another second baseman to recently sign an extension was Jedd Gyorko of the San Diego Padres. Gyorko signed a six-year, $35 million extension. However, he was coming off of his rookie season so the deal came at an earlier point in his career than Dozier.

It would seem more likely for the total dollar amount to be closer to Kipnis than to Gyorko.

The Roller Coaster Ride
Dozier provides an interesting case for the Twins. He's shown signs of great things but there has been some ups-and-downs to his offensive performance. Let's start with the good. Dozier ended the 2013 season strong and started the 2014 season on fire.

2013 2nd Half: .253/.313/.443, 10 HR, 18 2B, 34 R, 23 BB
2014 1st Half: .242/.340/.436, 18 HR, 16 2B, 69 R, 52 BB

That's over 100 runs scored and closing in on 30 home runs. Any team in baseball would gladly take those numbers from a second baseman.

The other halves surrounding these two strong performances weren't quite as good.

2013 1st Half: .235/.310/.386, 8 HR, 15 2B, 38 R, 28 BB
2014 2nd Half: .244/.352/.387, 5 HR, 17 2B, 43 R, 37 BB

If these two halves were combined, his OBP would still be high but his power numbers took a dip compared to the halves mentioned above.

So which Dozier is the really Dozier?

It's most likely that he will end up somewhere between these two extremes. ZiPS projects Dozier to his 17 home runs with 30 doubles. His projected 86 runs scored aren't the eye-popping 112 he posted in 2014 but it's still a decent total. If he reaches his projected slash-line of .244/.321/.399, all three of those totals would be higher than his career mark.

Dozier has become a fan favorite over the last couple years and that could help him at the negotiating table. It seems like both sides would like to get a long-term deal in place so don't be surprised if Dozier is "dotting his i's" before Opening Day.

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