A lot has been made of the Washington Nationals need at second base this offseason. But it’s clear that Brian Dozier is the best fit for the team.
In recent days, the Washington Nationals have been exploring a lot of options at second base in hope of an upgrade. One of those names floated about is Brian Dozier, who is clearly the best fit for the Nationals.
Early on in his career with the Minnesota Twins, Dozier appeared to be set for a huge payday this winter. In his first six seasons, he slashed a solid .251/.327/.452 while displaying a nice power-speed combo with 151 home runs and 90 stolen bases.
However, 2018 didn’t go his way as he was only able to hit .215 with a below average .696 OPS and ended up being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He did at least crank out 21 home runs, but the down year has seemingly dropped his free agent value significantly.
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That’s where the Nationals come in. Dozier now appears likely to get a one or two year contract this offseason, and after the departure of Daniel Murphy, the team appears to be in dire need of a short-term upgrade at second base. Then at some point in 2019, or 2020 at the very latest, top prospect Carter Kieboom will be ready to take over the gig.
Currently, the position will be manned by Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo, which leaves a lot to be desired. Difo has yet to impress despite prolonged opportunities to start for the Nationals, while Kendrick would be a solid option, but it seems risky relying on a 35-year-old coming off of an Achilles injury.
If the Nats were to sign Dozier, they could option Difo to the minor leagues for depth and allow Kendrick to be in a bench bat role that he thrives in. Dozier also could potentially play the role of backup first baseman if need be in his time with the Nats, with Ryan Zimmerman far from a guarantee to be healthy all season.
Dozier would also be able to provide some much-needed over-the-fence power for the Nats, given they’re losing a huge power presence in Bryce Harper. The former Twin has hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last six seasons, while Kendrick has never reached that level and Difo has even reached 20 career homers. Slotting Dozier sixth or seventh in the lineup would be a perfect spot for him to clear out the bases after the heart of the order.
However, one of the more underrated parts of Dozier that should appeal to the Nationals is that he has been an effective clubhouse presence. On the Twins team that made it to the wildcard game in 2017, he was one of the elder statesmen on the team and a leader in their clubhouse. It’s something the Nats have lacked ever since Jayson Werth departed after the 2017 season and even if his production doesn’t revert to his pre-2018 levels, Dozier would be a huge addition.
Brian Dozier would be an excellent addition for the Washington Nationals for multiple reasons. Hopefully, he’s firmly on the team’s radar as we head towards the end of 2018 and get closer to Spring Training.