The Dodgers might have some competition for Brian Dozier, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Was told by source w/direct knowledge not to rule out #Braves as stealth landing spot for Dozier. Excess young arms (Wisler, Blair) w/upside— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) January 6, 2017
We should take this with a grain of salt. First, Berardino’s source is someone within the Twins’ organization, and it’s in their interest to ramp up the pressure on Los Angeles in their attempt to get as good a package as possible. Second, despite their strong second half and their moves to shore up their rotation this winter, the Braves are not necessarily well-positioned to compete for a wild card in 2017, even if they did acquire the All Star second baseman.
That said, there could be a match if the Braves are determined to put a good product on the field in their first season at Sun Trust Park. First, Atlanta does have a hole at second base. Jace Peterson spent the most time there in 2016, posting a healthy .350 OBP, but playing questionable defense. Currently, he seems likely to platoon with Sean Rodriguez.
We also know from Ken Rosenthal that Atlanta tried to acquire Brandon Phillips earlier this offseason. Phillips vetoed the deal using his 10-and-5 rights, leaving both the Braves and the Reds in the lurch. If the club is still interested in a upgrade, there’s simply no better player on the market (let alone second baseman) than Dozier. And his presence would give Atlanta a pretty strong lineup, assuming Dansby Swanson continues to develop and Matt Kemp doesn’t revert back to his performance with the Padres.
Dozier also is a local guy, having grown up in Alabama, who doesn’t make a ton of money over the next two years ($15 million total). And the Braves do have a strong farm system from which they could meet the Twins’ asking price, though it’s less exciting than the players Los Angeles can offer.
But, as Berardino later acknowledged, Atlanta remains a longshot. Still, it’s interesting to watch the Twins clearly trying to gin up a market for their All Star. It indicates how motivated they are to deal him, and how disappointed they’ll be if the Dodgers don’t come through with an acceptable offer before they take their second baseman and go home.