Brian Dozier, Nationals Reportedly Agree on 1-Year, $9 Million Contract

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2019

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 8:  Brian Dozier #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers smiles as he runs off the field during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 8, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals and free-agent second baseman Brian Dozier reportedly came to terms on a one-year, $9 million contract Thursday, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Drafted in the eighth round by the Minnesota Twins in 2009, Dozier has spent most of his professional career with the Twins. However, with his free agency looming, Minnesota traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2018 MLB non-waiver trade deadline.

Dozier hit .215 with 21 home runs, 30 doubles and 72 RBI between Minnesota and Los Angeles in 2018, including .182 with five home runs, nine doubles and 20 RBI in 47 games as a Dodger.

It was later reported in early November by Fancred's Jon Heyman that Dozier played the season with a "severe bone bruise," which could explain his drop in production.

Entering 2018, Dozier had received American League MVP votes in three consecutive seasons. During that span, the 5'11", 200-pound infielder averaged 35 dingers per 162 games. He made the All-Star team in 2015 and added a Gold Glove to his resume in 2017.

Unfortunately for the 31-year-old Dozier, his numbers dipped as he was playing for a new contract. His batting average was the lowest of his career, and he had not slugged fewer than 24 homers since 2014.

Washington is hoping this past season was a blip rather than a sign of things to come. Dozier's track record speaks for itself, as he had been one of the best offensive second basemen in baseball for years.

Now that he is under contract, Dozier can start preparing for 2019 as he looks for a bounce-back year.

With Dozier off the market, Passan noted that several other middle infielders are expected to sign soon, including free agents DJ LeMahieu and Jed Lowrie.

Passan also reported that the San Francisco Giants are discussing trades involving second baseman Joe Panik.

Per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Giants' decision to shop Panik is due to their interest in potentially signing LeMahieu.

Dozier has just a .143 career batting average at Nationals Park. Of course, given he has spent all but 47 games of his career in the American League, that's based on a small sample size—six games to be exact.

After trading Daniel Murphy last summer, Washington had two internal options it could turn to at second: Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo. The 35-year-old Kendrick missed the majority of the 2018 campaign after tearing his Achilles in May, while the 26-year-old Difo hit .230 with limited power (seven home runs) last year.

In other words, Dozier should provide a much-needed offensive boost at the position.

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