Jon Heyman tweets, and the world listens:
“SFGIants like Dozier but he’s seen as “not a likely fit” for them, as they have Panik. Dodgers still viewed as favorite.”
Giants like Brian Dozier. I like ice cream. Alert the presses.
Dozier, who is coming off a monster 2016 campaign, is a personal favorite of mine — and obviously a lot of other teams looking to upgrade at second base. Dozier’s 5.9 wins above replacement (FanGraphs method) last season would have ranked first on the Giants (just beating out Brandon Crawford’s 5.8 WAR). Since 2013, Dozier has been worth 2.5, 4.7, 3.3, and 5.9 WAR. He’s an obviously excellent ballplayer that would fit well on any team.
However, the Giants seem like an odd duck match for Dozier’s services.
* Joe Panik already exists and is a thing
I am not sure where the Giants would play Dozier if they did acquire him. Dozier has played 5,000-plus innings in the field at second and other than the time he briefly spent at shortstop in 2012, he’s never played anywhere else at the major league level. Looking at the defensive data, Dozier appears to be an average defender. UZR has him at -4.4 runs over his career at second; DRS has him at +7 runs; and the Fan Scouting Report has him at +4 runs.
Joe Panik, by comparison, is an excellent defender at second. UZR has Panik at +13.7 runs over his career on defense; DRS has him at +4 runs and FSR at +7 runs. You’d probably be willing, all things considered, to give Joe Panik a half-win on defense on Dozier over the course of a full season. Panik might not be the 136 wRC+ batter he was in 2015 going forward, but he’s an average hitter — with the potential for a little more — who isn’t going to cost much.
Which brings us back to just exactly where Dozier would play? I don’t see the Giants moving Panik to left field to let Dozier man second base; would Dozier be open to playing LF? How would he translate on defense to LF? The defensive spectrum tells us that playing LF is easier than 2B, so it’s not crazy to think that Dozier would be a fine LF given time and practice, but it’s still a weird notion.
* The Giants don’t have the right amount of prospect capital
The Giants just don’t have the prospects to acquire a player like Dozier. While the farm system seems to be on a slight upswing, it’s still a bottom third system and the top prospects — guys like Tyler Beede — the Giants will most likely need sooner rather than later. It’s hard to see any scenario where A) The Twins really make Dozier available and B) the Giants have enough in the way of prospects to make a deal happen.
* Dozier would fill a need in the lefty-hitting department
As Grant Brisbee mentioned in this post, the Giants are going to have real problems hitting left-handed pitching in the upcoming season. The lineup is largely slanted towards left-handed batters. Posey and Pence should do well against LHP, but outside of that, it’s not exactly a pretty sight. Dozier would instantly give the Giants a guy that really whomps on lefties. Dozier’s career wRC+ against LHP is a robust 131. Having Dozier, Posey, and Pence all in the same lineup against southpaws would help mitigate the lefty-heavy nature of the lineup.
Brian Dozier is a really good baseball player. The Giants would be a better team with him on it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a thing that is going to happen. In fact, it’s really hard to see how it would even occur — current team makeup, prospects needed to trade for Dozier, etc. Maybe in an alternate reality. Like most baseball trade rumors in December it’s nice to think about for a few fleeting seconds, but, yeah, probably not actually going to happen.