Twins trade Brian Dozier to Dodgers
Brian Dozier was an All-Star and a Gold Glove Award winner during his seven seasons with the Twins, and hit 42 home runs two seasons ago, a record for an American League second baseman.
But with an expiring contract on a team with a losing record, he knew his time in Minnesota was short.
The Twins sent Dozier to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline Tuesday, capping a whirlwind five days where Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine traded five key players.
There were a lot of emotions going through my mind Derek and Thad called me in and we had a nice conversation, Dozier said by phone from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, where he was set to board a plane for Los Angeles. The past few days, I kind of expected it to happen. But the when the time actually came, thats when the emotions started coming in, because I didnt know what to think of beforehand.
There are sad emotions of saying goodbye to the players, the coaching staff, the security guards, every single person that I have seen for seven straight years, day in and day out. Thats pretty emotional. But theres another emotion is that its exciting. Sometimes change is good. Going to a first place team, which can be exciting.
One thing I didnt accomplish, going back to the postseason with the Twins. Thats upsetting and disappointing for myself.
In return for Dozier, the Twins get veteran second baseman Logan Forsythe and two prospects playing for the Class AA Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League outfielder Luke Raley and lefthanded pitcher Devin Smeltzer.
Dozier hopes to play Tuesday night for the Dodgers against Milwaukee.
Forsythe, a 31-year-old with a .247 career batting average, and Dozier have identical $9 million salaries and will both be free agents at seasons end.
Raley, 23, had 17 home runs in 93 games for Tulsa. Smeltzer, 22, was 5-5 in 23 games (14 starts) with a 4.73 ERA.
Dozier, an American League All-Star in 2015, was with the Twins for seven seasons, hitting .248 with 167 home runs and 491 RBI. He set an American League record for home runs by a second baseman in 2016 when he hit 42.
Harmon Killebrew, who did it eight times, is the only other Twins player to hit more than 40 home runs in a season.
Dozier, 31, was an eighth-round pick of the Twins in 2009 after his junior season at Southern Mississippi. He made his major league debut in 2012 and played 147 games or more in every full season since. Since 2014, he leads the Twins in games, hits, runs and home runs.
On Friday, the Twins sent third baseman Eduardo Escobar to Arizona and relief pitcher Ryan Pressly to Houston. On Monday, starting pitcher Lance Lynn went to the Yankees and reliever Zach Duke to Seattle. All except Pressly are pending free agents.
When Escobar was traded, Thats when I knew I was gone, Dozier said. I just didnt know when.
The Twins, 49-56, are eight games behind first place Cleveland in the American League Central. The teams play the second of a three-game series on Tuesday night at Target Field, and Ehire Adrianza will replace Dozier at second. After a day game Wednesday against the Indians, the Twins have Thursday off, so Forsythes first game could be Friday night at Target Field against Kansas City.
The Twins expected second baseman of the future is former first round pick Nick Gordon, who is playing at Class AAA Rochester.
Forsythe played in 70 games for Los Angeles this season and hit .207 with two home runs. He also played for the Padres (2011-13) and the Rays (2014-16).
Raley was a seventh-round choice by the Dodgers in 2016 out of Lake Erie College. He was a California League All-Star last season and made the Texas League All-Star Game this year. He was ranked the 26th best prospect in the Dodgers organization before the season by Baseball America.
Smeltzer was also a Texas League All-Star this season. He was a fifth-round pick out of Florida Gulf Coast in 2016.