NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. – Brian Dozier can’t get away from it.
At baseball’s winter meetings Monday, Dozier was part of a reception that announced a 10-year deal for Under Armour to provide uniforms to teams beginning in 2020. MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger was the master of ceremonies, and he introduced a group of star players that included Clayton Kershaw, Freddie Freeman, Francisco Lindor, Rick Porcello and Brandon Phillips.
When he got to Dozier, Amsinger said: “I don’t know if he’s still going to be with the Twins by the end of this, but here is Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins.”
Dozier is that guy in that place right now — the subject of rumors and speculation. The Dodgers have been in contact with the Twins throughout the offseason. The Yankees, reportedly, are among the four to five teams that have reached out to the Twins about him. New York has a second baseman in Starlin Castro, but would figure out the logistics later if they can land Dozier.
If he had his way, though, Dozier would not land anywhere.
“It’s your career,” he said. “You want to see how other teams value you as well as the Twins. At the same time — and something I’m going to talk about tonight — I’ve been the trenches the past five years and it is one of those things where you want to stay for a long time of this rebuilding process. I feel there’s a lot of excitement for the coming years and I want to be a part of that. I think it is pretty cool.”
After the Under Armour event, Dozier was scheduled to head up to the Twins suite at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center and speak with new Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine. Dozier spoke to Falvey over the phone in the middle of a workout about a week ago and saw him for the first time Monday when he stopped the suite on the way to his Under Armour appearance.
He planned on delivering a message when he met them after the event: He does not want to leave.
“I’m a Twin for a reason,” Dozier said. “I want to be a Twin and get things headed in the right direction.”
Dozier and his agent, Damon Lapa, would be all ears if the Twins wanted to talk about extending his contract. He is coming off a season of career highs in batting average (.268), home runs (42) and RBI (99). He became the fourth second baseman in MLB history to hit at least 40 homers in a season. He is 29. He is set to make $15 million over the next two seasons: $6 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017.
He wants to stay. But he’s wanted.
Falvey and Levine know that. They are not interested in trading Dozier until a team offers a package that would make them interested. Look at the trade that sent righthander Shelby Miller from the Braves to the Diamondbacks last year. Atlanta received former No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, outfielder Ender Inciarte and pitcher Aaron Blair. Swanson and Inciarte were in the lineup against the Twins when the teams played in August.
The Twins are not motivated to trade Dozier, but they are available to be impressed. They will be happy to go into the regular season with him and see who is desperate at the trade deadline. They do think Dozier could be part of the solution, as they try to turn the franchise around.
“That’s like the gift that ownership has given this franchise,” Levine said. “It’s allowing us to make decisions on the merits on those exact decisions than with the backdrop of urgency which can distort the evaluation of a trade and accelerate our mind-set where we don’t feel like we are getting the value out of a deal.”