The latest on Brian Dozier's future with the Minnesota Twins

Jon Heyman has a new report on the Twins' second baseman.
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Injuries and bullpen woes have been the main ingredients to a subpar start for the Twins, but they're still very much in the mix in the American League Central. 

Entering play Monday they're just two games behind the first-place Indians, and with 20 of their next 26 games against the Tigers, Royals, Indians and White Sox, they have a chance to do some damage within the division.

How the Twins fare in the AL Central will undoubtedly play a big role in whether Brian Dozier is with the team beyond the July 31 trade deadline. 

If the Twins aren't in contention they could trade Dozier to a contender to ensure they get something for him in the event he leaves via free agency after the season. 

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Remember, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported on Opening Day that contract talks between Dozier and the Twins were dead, and that Dozier intends to test the market as a free agent.

The latest report regarding the Twins' second baseman comes from Jon Heyman of FanRagSports, who reports that the Twins will likely make an $18 million qualifying offer to Dozier after the season, but if Dozier declines and tests the market, Heyman believes the Twins would be "less-than-likely" to be among the leaders in the clubhouse to sign him.

Another variable that doesn't bode well for the Twins is that Dozier just turned 31 on May 15, and there's risk in taking the qualifying offer to stay one more year with the Twins when he would likely get a multi-year contract worth as much or more in free agency. 

Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey told Sid Hartman over the weekend that he's not ruling out any contract negotiations with Dozier, but right now they're 100 percent focused on this season. 

Dozier, who went through 3-for-40 slump at the plate April 24 through May 3, is back in another tough stretch with just three hits in his last 29 at-bats.

Not to worry though. Dozier is a notoriously slow starter, so his .230 average with seven home runs and 16 RBI this season is borderline expected. 

At this point it's pretty clear that the Twins could be in a really tough spot with Dozier if they're still in contention around the trade deadline. If they think he's gone one way or another, it'd be wise to trade him, but can they do that at the expense of this season's success?

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