The Washington Nationals continued to win the year’s offseason on Thursday by signing former Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Brian Dozier to a one-year, $9 Million deal.
Brian Dozier was an All-Star in 2015 and won a Gold Glove in 2017. Over the course of a five-year stretch in which Dozier hit .252/.333/.465 with 145 home runs and 81 stolen bases while appearing in 767 games for the Minnesota Twins. Dozier was traded to the Dodgers on July 31 (prior to the trade deadline) after a rough stretch (hitting a dismal .207) to start the 2018 season.
Dozier split his 2018 playing time between the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Dodgers, putting up a combined line of .215/.305/.391 with 21 homers in 151 games. Dozier’s .696 OPS in 2018 was the lowest the former All-Star has put up since his rookie campaign in 2012. Dozier also had a rough year on the defensive side. Dozier’s -6.4 Ultimate Zone Rating ranked 15th among 16 qualifying second basemen. This was a considerable drop off from Dozier’s 2017 season in which he hit .271 with 34 home runs, and way down from his 2016 season when he hit .268 with 42 home runs. Dozier hopes to bounce back to his normal form in a Nationals uniform as the Nationals attempt to recapture the magic they lost in 2018.
Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo has been wheeling and dealing since the end of the 2018 season and after everyone wrote off the Nationals following the inevitable loss of Bryce Harper, the Nationals are making a statement to the rest of baseball that they are not finished quite yet. Washington kicked off this offseason with the acquisitions of relievers Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal, first baseman Matt Adams, catchers Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki, and star starting pitcher Patrick Corbin. Whatever the Nationals lost with Harper, they have certainly made up for and then some.
Washington completely missed the playoffs in 2018 with the Atlanta Braves winning the National League East division and the Philadelphia Phillies finishing in second. The Nationals were only able to top the lowly New York Mets and Miami Marlins in the divisional rankings. Despite their rough 2018 campaign, the Nationals have a star-studded pitching staff headed by Max Scherzer and the offense is not all that bad either. The Nationals can expect to be in the thick of the National League East division race with the Braves, Phillies, and possibly the revamped Mets.
The addition of Dozier gives the Nationals a temporary solution to their hole at second base with second base formerly being manned by Wilmer Difo and Howie Kendrick who will both serve ass utility players and backups to Dozier. In six games in Nationals Park, Dozier has hit just .143, but since this is based on such a small sample size, it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Overall this is a solid deal on both ends, it gives Dozier a shot at a bounceback and a better contract next year, and it gives the Nationals a solid second baseman who will fill in the formerly gaping hole while they compete for a division title.