The Dodgers are acquiring second baseman Brian Dozier from the Twins in exchange for second baseman Logan Forsythe and prospects Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman first reported on Tuesday afternoon:
#Dodgers close to acquiring Brian Dozier from #MNTwins, sources tell me and @DanHayesMLB.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2018
#Twins are getting forsythe, Smeltzer and Raley for Dozier— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 31, 2018
The 31-year-old Dozier has posted a .224/.305/.402 slash line with 16 homers this season, and he’s been less-than-stellar defensively, posting -6 defensive runs saved. It’s not abundantly clear how he fits into the Dodgers’ plans — he’ll be the second baseman for the next few days with Max Muncy — arguably their first-half MVP — at first base and Cody Bellinger in center field. But after Justin Turner returns from the DL, Manny Machado slides back over to shortstop, and Chris Taylor goes back to center field, it’s possible that Muncy, who is 2 for his last 26 and has a .196/.292/.446 slash line over his last 15 games, may end up as a versatile bench piece going forward. Forsythe exiting the fray clears some room on Los Angeles’ roster, but manager Dave Roberts will have to strike a balancing act in order to get the most out of infielders Justin Turner (who is currently on the DL), Manny Machado, Chase Utley, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez, Dozier, and Muncy going forward. Like Machado, he’s a free agent at the end of the season, so the Dodgers are clearly in “win now” mode with their recent trade activity.
Forsythe, 31, was a postseason hero last year, but he has struggled mightily in 2018, posting a .207/.270/.290 line with two homers over 211 plate appearances. His main purpose in the trade is seemingly to rid the Dodgers of the remainder of his $9 million salary. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Twins, who are obviously building with an eye toward the future at this point, designate him for assignment immediately.
Raley, 23, is an outfielder/first baseman who was ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 19 prospect by MLB Pipeline. He’s posted an impressive .275/.345/.477 slash line with 17 homers at Double-A Tulsa this season, though he has struck out 175 times and walked just 24 in 435 plate appearances. He’s the second upper-minors slugging first baseman that the Twins have acquired in the last two days, as they acquired Tyler Austin from the Yankees in yesterday’s Lance Lynn deal.
Smeltzer, a 22-year-old left-hander, was the Dodgers’ fifth-round pick in 2016 and was not ranked as a top-30 prospect in Los Angeles’ system by MLB Pipeline. Over 23 appearances (14 starts) at Tulsa this year, he has a 4.73 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with an underwhelming 67 strikeouts and 19 walks through 83.2 innings.