FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins second baseman Brian Dozier endured an offseason of trade rumors, rumors that only died down last month when he was told shortly before TwinsFest that he was staying put.
It was a relief to Dozier, who made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Twins and help turn them into a winner again.
As camp opens, Dozier is looking to pick up where he left off last season, when his magnificent power surge during the second half helped him finish with 42 home runs and 99 RBI.
But if he does that, he could land right back in rumor central before the trade deadlines in July and August. And with that comes questions from all sides — teammates, fans, family and the ever-probing media — about his future.
“I understand the business,” he said. “I just don’t want to be a trade show for the whole season and the next two years. Period.”
The Dodgers, Giants and Cardinals were among teams that had expressed varying degrees of interest in Dozier, with the Dodgers being the most serious suitor. More teams could be interested in Dozier, an All-Star in 2015, if he gets off to a strong start.
But, if the Twins can get off to a good start and provide a little hint of being interesting, the club could be influenced to keep Dozier. Dozier’s goal in camp is to help the team address all its shortcomings from a year ago.
“I’m here to win games,’’ he said. “That’s it.”
• A picture of Yorman Landa pitching for Class A Fort Myers was placed on a wall of the clubhouse at Hammond Stadium. Landa died on Dec. 10 in an automobile accident in his native Venezuela. He was a quiet yet popular player who was on the Twins’ 40-man roster and had hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun while with the Miracle last season.
• Three separate commercials were shot at the park on Saturday. Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler were part of one. Dozier and Miguel Sano teamed for a second. And Joe Mauer filmed one with T.C. Bear.
• Outfielder Drew Stubbs reported to camp Saturday, so all 31 position players have reported to camp one day ahead of the first full squad workout. Manager Paul Molitor will address the club Sunday morning before it takes to the fields at the CenturyLink Sports Complex. It also will be the first day of live batting practice.
Drew Stubbs, outfielder
2016 stats: Batted .225 with three homers and seven RBI in 59 games during stints with Baltimore, Atlanta and Texas.
Acquired: Selected in the first round (eighth overall pick) of the 2006 draft.
Role: If he makes the team, he will be a backup outfielder who can play all three positions.
Did you know: Stubbs was the first-ever draft pick of GM Wayne Krivsky, who was hired from the Twins. Stubbs also played with LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Cuddyer in Colorado; Cuddyer put in a good word for him as the Twins considered signing him.
La VELLE E. NEAL III