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Brian Dozier spent the first six-and-a-half years of his career with the Minnesota Twins. There, he became a fan favorite while hitting more than 25 home runs three times and anchoring the second base position next to another Twins hero in first baseman Joe Mauer. All that came to an end though, at the 2018 trade deadline on July 31st, when the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Dozier. The trade shipped the veteran out west to a different team and a different league.

In return for Dozier, the Twins received veteran second baseman Logan Forsythe, outfield prospect Luke Raley, and pitching prospect Devin Smeltzer. Dozier hit .224 with the Twins this season (the lowest average of his career, thus far) to go with 16 home runs and a .708 OPS. He will be the primary second baseman of the Dodgers, but that comes with an asterisk.

You see, while Dozier is moving from a middle-of-the-pack American League team to a National League team with World Series aspirations, there are some things to note that may reveal this isn’t such a great move for him — or rather, his fantasy owners. Below is a deeper look at the trade and its short-and-long term impacts, Dozier’s dynasty value for the future, as well as the state of the Twins after the trade.

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Rest of Season Value

If you look up the Dodgers depth chart, Dozier is at the top of the list at second base. Set to make his debut in Dodger blue on August 1, Dozier will bat fifth in between catcher Yasmani Grandal and first baseman Cody Bellinger (both have 17 home runs this season). Not to be forgotten, Dozier will bat after the formidable duo of newly acquired Manny Machado and Matt Kemp in his debut, so suffice it to say there’s a lot of protection in the Dodgers lineup. Dozier is also known for having some legendary second halves. His month of August from 2015-2017 saw him hit 26 home runs to go with a .280 batting average and a gaudy .929 OPS. Thick in the hunt for the playoffs in the competitive NL West and surrounded by the Dodgers’ heavy hitters, Dozier is expected to repeat his second-half success yet again.

But it isn’t all good news for fantasy owners, and the reason comes from the skipper of the team himself. After the trade was confirmed, Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts pretty much explained that Dozier wouldn’t play every day. It remains to be seen exactly how much Dozier’s playing time will be cut, but owners should at least expect it. The Dodgers sport impressive depth at multiple positions and are known to play around with their lineups. In fact, the only player virtually guaranteed to play every day is Machado, solely because he is an otherworldly talent. With Dodger hitters able to play multiple positions, Roberts is expected to mix-and-match, especially with all the left-handed pitching in the NL West.

Dozier’s owners, while undoubtedly excited that he’s on a contender and has historically great second halves, should expect his usage reduced compared to his time on the Twins where he played second nearly every day. There’s no designated hitter position for him to fill in the NL, either. It’s a sobering thought for owners, and yet one they will have to deal with. That said, he will be valuable on a team severely lacking in offensive talent at second base. This season, Forsythe and Chase Utley combined for an unseemly .211 average while platooning at second. Dozier is a clear upgrade.

Dynasty Value

Dozier will be a free agent by season’s end and it’s doubtful that the Dodgers sign him to a new contract. Not only can infielder Max Muncy play first, second, and third, but Chris Taylor will probably be a cheaper option that the Dodgers would consider bringing back. They could also consider letting both Taylor and Dozier walk and seek out second base help from the farm or via free agency. Long story short, dynasty owners will now have to deal with Dozier’s reduced playing time, albeit for a contender, and then his free agency. Owners will have to hope that he goes off in the second half of this season, thus raising his value for free agency. He will still be 31 by the time the 2019 season starts and is just two seasons removed from hitting 42 home runs (he hit 34 in 2017). He’s a solid keep in dynasty leagues, and — if he returns to the American League, or moves to another contender — should see his value rise.

What about the Twins?

It’s never easy when a player that has spent his entire career with one team — and one who has had some great seasons with them — is traded. The Twins will miss Dozier, his bat, and the solid stability he brought to second base. They might be able to bring him back in 2019 though. Going forward this season, the Twins are expected to platoon Forsythe (who is having an abysmal year) with Ehire Adrianza; a far cry from the Dozier days. Along with Forsythe, the Twins received Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer. While Smeltzer has struggled this season in Double-A (5-5, 4.73 ERA) Raley is an intriguing prospect. The 23-year-old has hit .275 with 17 career home runs in nearly two years in the minors. He’s not great defensively, but can help with his bat sooner than expected. Neither is fantasy relevant at this point, however. The Twins boast a robust farm system after unloading Dozier and others, but the future remains a bit unclear after the regressions/injuries of outfielder Byron Buxton and third baseman Miguel Sano.

 





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