The Minnesota Twins keep mulling over whether to trade away Brian Dozier or not, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the other end, waiting for them to make up their minds with a bunch of prospects to sweeten the deal.
As of now, it’s not quite clear who and how many prospects the Dodgers will be sending the Twins way for Dozier. However, one name that keeps showing up is that of Jose De Leon, the 24-year old rightie who made his major league debut last season. De Leon alone isn’t going to be enough to make this trade work, but despite not doing anything special in his first few appearances on the mound, he’s worth including in the package from the Twins perspective.
De Leon started four games and pitched through 17 innings, posting a 6.35 ERA and a 1.529 WHIP, while striking out 2.19 batters per walk. Not very eye popping, but he did well with Oklahoma City in triple-A. He had a 2.61 ERA and a 0.938 WHIP, showing no real adjustment problems to the highest level of minor league baseball through 16 starts in the Pacific League, tossing for 86.1 innings. He was rated among the 30 best prospects in the United States before last season by most scouting websites.
The Twins can give him an extended 2017 audition before deciding what to do with him, as he’s controllable for a very long time. He’s a talented, intriguing prospect, and with one or two more players to sweeten the deal, the Twins shouldn’t think too long and hard about this. While Dozier has been incredibly productive, the Twins seem to be more interested in building a wider foundation of young talent to hopefully compete for a long time, even if it means another losing season.
Dozier, 29, isn’t just coming off a fantastic season; he’s also on a great deal. He’s owed just $15 million over the next two seasons, which for a player that batted .268 with a .340 OBP and slugged 42 home runs, is almost like a steal. He received a few MVP votes for the second straight season. After five straight seasons with the Twins, it seems like he’s more likely to move on than stay, as the franchise doesn’t seem to be in a rush to win right now.