5 Potential Landing Spots for Brian Dozier

If the Twins' slugging second baseman does head out of town, who may be the best fit for his services?

The Minnesota Twins endured a horrific 59-103 campaign in 2016, but second baseman Brian Dozier was one of the few bright spots. Minnesota isn't going through a full roster teardown with new leadership taking over the front office, but that doesn't mean they won't at least listen to offers from interested teams for their top players.

If Derek Falvey and company do want to flip a player on the major-league roster to inject some potential into the farm system, Dozier is their best shot. He's fresh off a career year in which he hit .268/.340/.546 with 42 home runs, 35 doubles, 99 RBI's and 104 runs scored. His 5.9 fWAR, per Fangraphs, ranked within the top 15 in all of baseball, and David Ortiz was the only qualified hitter to have a higher isolated slugging percentage (.305) than Dozier's .278 clip.

Dozier is appealing to other teams via the trade market for three reasons: the above stats are incredible, he's under team control through 2018 for a super reasonable $15 million and the free-agent market for second baseman doesn't look so great.

Not many teams are looking for a new second baseman, but just about everyone would love to have a bat with 30- or 40-homer potential in the lineup every night. The following five teams would be interesting landing spots for Dozier if he were to pack his bags and leave Minnesota.

Philadelphia Phillies

After a 71-91 campaign, the Philadelphia Phillies are one of a few National League teams in the midst of a rebuilding process. But unlike last winter, they're starting to gear up for the end of this process. Ryan Howard's awful contract is officially off the books, and after 2017, they have no payroll commitments, according to Spotrac.

It only makes sense to see the Phillies start prepping for their next run at being competitive by acquiring cost-effective talent where possible. Maikel Franco, Tommy Joseph and (eventually) J.P. Crawford will have third base, first base and shortstop locked down for the foreseeable future, leaving second base up for grabs.

Cesar Hernandez grabbed most of the playing time in 2016 and posted a solid 4.4 fWAR with a 108 wRC+ despite posting an OPS of .764.

Could they make it happen?

Hernandez is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter, so he'd still be cheap. However, his name has popped up in trade rumors, and the Phillies have since acquired Howie Kendrick. But the veteran Kendrick doesn't have to play second base (94 games played in the outfield in 2016).

The Twins would have to be "wowed" in order to actually move Dozier, and thanks to the recent rebuild, Philly boasts a top-10 farm system. So it's at least possible for them to put an appealing enough package together.

Los Angeles Dodgers

As was said recently, if the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be interested in just about every available (and good) player, that's because they are. Unlike the Phillies, they have a hole to fill with Chase Utley becoming a free agent. The front office is open to bringing Utley back, but they have every reason to first look for better options.

Manager Dave Roberts loves having Utley in the clubhouse, but it's not as if he's a tremendous asset on the field in an everyday role at this point in his career (97 wRC+ and 2.0 fWAR in 138 games during 2016).

The Dodgers have already been connected to a handful of second basemen available via trade this winter, including Ian Kinsler and Logan Forsythe in addition to Dozier. Los Angeles' reported debt won't impact its offseason plan, but one would imagine they'd be more interested in finding top-tier and really cheap talent instead of the alternative.

Could they make it happen?

Don't hold your breath.

That's at least what Mike Berardino of the St. Paul-Pioneer Press recently tweeted, citing there "wasn't much traction" at the moment. Of course, since new ownership took over in 2012, the Dodgers have built a reputation that they'll do whatever it takes to win, so don't rule it out.

Especially since bringing Dozier into the mix would be helpful in balancing out Roberts' everyday lineup, as L.A. finished last in baseball with regard to OPS against left-handed pitching (.623).

Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves are also in the midst of a rebuild, but general manager John Coppolella isn't messing around this winter. The organization will be playing in a new ballpark in April, have already fortified the starting rotation with R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon and don't appear to be done. ESPN's Buster Olney reported Atlanta would be one of baseball's most aggressive teams this winter, and making a run at Dozier would be a significant upgrade.

Five different ballplayers manned second base for the Braves during 2016, and none of them brought consistent results. The group slashed .229/.306/.325 with an uninspiring wRC+ of 70 and even less-inspiring fWAR of -2.1.

Jace Peterson took on most of the playing time for the second consecutive year and failed to take hold of the opportunity. His .254/.350/.366 line is a cumulative improvement from the year before, but regression with the glove and on the bases left him with a 0.0 fWAR.

Could they make it happen?

Atlanta has spent most of the last calendar year flipping its own MLB talent to replenish the farm system, which has kept them in the top 10 systems in all of baseball. So, the ability to wow the Twins' front office is certainly there. And just think about adding his offense to a group that already has Ender Inciarte setting the table with 30-homer threats in Matt Kemp and Freddie Freeman clearing the bases in the middle of the lineup.

That sounds like the kind of group Braves fans would be excited to watch play at SunTrust Park.

Los Angeles Angels

Outside of Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels need a lot of help. Position players posted a 21.6 fWAR in 2016 (although Trout helped with his 9.4 fWAR), which ranks within the top 10, but the pitching staff posted the second-worst fWAR in baseball at 5.9. Dozier won't necessarily improve the pitching staff, but second base was a problem area.

Four different players combined to post an anemic 68 wRC+ and -0.6 fWAR, led by Johnny Giavotella (80 wRC+, 0.1 fWAR), who is a free agent.

Despite not being on the verge of contention last winter, general manager Billy Eppler made a move for the future by acquiring shortstop Andrelton Simmons, so making a trade like this is something potentially up his sleeve.

Could they make it happen?

Los Angeles can be as interested in Dozier all they want, but this isn't happening. If the Angels didn't boast the worst farm system in baseball (according to ESPN's Keith Law last February, at least), then maybe there would be a chance. There's not, though.

Pittsburgh Pirates

This is actually the most interesting potential fit of all considering the Pittsburgh Pirates' situation. We knew they'd be shopping Andrew McCutchen during the offseason, but we recently found out they were in pursuit of Sean Rodriguez before he signed with the Braves, with the thought of trading incumbent second baseman Josh Harrison.

After posting a career-high .837 OPS in his lone All-Star campaign back in 2014, the Pirates signed Harrison through 2018, with options for 2019 and 2020. It hasn't worked out like they hoped thus far, as you can see below:


Could they make it happen?

Absolutely. The Pirates have the farm system to do it -- ranked them fourth following the last summer's non-waiver trade deadline -- and if they are successful in trading both McCutchen and Harrison, they would get some prospects to offset the high cost of acquiring Dozier (along with freeing money to pay his salary).

Will it happen? That's doubtful, but we can at least think creatively about it.