This Player Could Be The Answer at Second Base
One of the better position players in baseball in 2017, Brian Dozier, is available as a free agent and has received little or no attention in the press. There are some legitimate reasons for this. Dozier posted all star quality seasons in 2016 and 2017 (6.2 and 5.0 wins above a replacement player), but this dropped significantly in 2018 to a season where he accrued just a 0.8 WAR.
Let’s take a brief look at Dozier’s results over the past 3 years:
As noted, Dozier was an all star quality second baseman in 2016 and 2017. He had a severe drop off in 2018. His core walk rate was stable from 2017 to 2018 (a nice increase from 2016) and his strikeout rate was stable at 20%. His line drive rate dropped a bit which is likely a factor in the declining number of balls he hit that were in play and turned into hits (BABIP).
Dozier is going to be 32 for most of next season and he’s certainly in the slight decline part of his career. For what it’s worth, Dozier had nagging knee troubles in 2018 which likely impacted his performance.
Didi Gregorius will miss half or more of 2018. The Yankees have an option to replace him at short in Gleyber Torres. But, if Torres moves over, there is a big question as to who will play second. The Yankees could look to Tyler Wade, but, Dozier is probably a much better option. Dozier has experienced Major League success.
Dozier might come reasonably priced. He has stated that he wants to win and is not interested in being a person to “chase the money.” The Yankees can offer a fair contract. Joining this lineup certainly gives him a chance to win. If Dozier is willing to take a one year “pillow” contract to compete for a ring and re establish his value, the Yankees should take a good hard look at him. He has significant upside and is the kind of player that could slip through the cracks and help the Yankees patch the hole left by Gregorius’ injury and also to compete for the division crown and a World Series championship.