The same way Joe Mauer is entering the final year of his contract with the Twins, so is second baseman Brian Dozier.
Some baseball writers believe Dozier's departure is all but inevitable in Minnesota, one of them being MLB insider Jon Heyman, who wrote that the Twins expect to lose Dozier as a free agent after the season.
"There is no extension talk ongoing with Dozier, who’s one of the better second basemen in baseball. The Twins plan to extend him the qualifying offer, which might be their only chance to keep him (and that would only be if Dozier had an off year).
A source tells GoMN that they're not sure where Heyman got his information other than basing it off of the fact that Dozier is in the final year of his four-year, $20 million contract.
Dozier, 30, has been a home run and doubles machine while playing gold-glove defense at second base for the Twins. His numbers the last three seasons:
- 2017: .271 Avg., 30 HR, 93 RBI, 30 doubles, 106 runs, 16 steals
- 2016: .268 Avg., 42 HR, 99 RBI, 35 doubles, 104 runs, 18 steals
- 2015: .236 Avg., 28 HR, 77 RBI, 39 doubles, 101 runs, 12 steals
Perhaps the greatest flaw in Dozier's game is that he's known for getting off to slow starts.
Last summer, Dozier was hitting .242 with 13 homers at the All-Star break. It was the same story in 2016. Dozier was hitting .246 with 14 homers at the break before lifting off in the second half with a whopping 28 additional home runs.
Barring a disastrous upcoming season, Dozier is going to be due for a monster raise, and he's hitting free agency in a year with megastars Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw, meaning dollars will likely be reaching all-time highs.
There's speculation that Harper's next deal will be in the $400-$500 million range.
Dozier won't get that, but he is going to get a lot.
In the meantime, we're happy to report that Dozier passed the kidney stone that kept him out of the start of spring training.