February 22, 2021

Brian Dozier, we hardly knew ye

Second baseman Brian Dozier, who spent seven of his nine seasons with the Twins, called it a career last week and retired. He leaves the game at 33.

Dozier was traded by the Twins to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. He was never the same player after he left Minnesota, although he would eventually win a World Series with the Washington Nationals. But his homer-hitting prowess tailed off after he left the Twins. He hit 192 home runs over those nine seasons, including 42 in 2016, the most for a Twins second baseman and the second highest single-season total for that position in major league history. Dozier also was an All-Star in 2015 and won a Gold Glove in 2017.

Dozier, unfortunately, hit a lot of home runs for some weak Twins teams. But he did have his moments, including on July 10, 2015. In that game, the Twins were losing 6-1 at home to the Detroit Tigers going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

And then the rally started.

Joe Mauer singled, Miguel Sano doubled, Trevor Plouffe struck out and Eddie Rosario singled and stole a base to make it 6-2.

Aaron Hicks, now with the New York Yankees, earned a walk and catcher Kurt Suzuki was hit by a pitch to make it 6-3.

Danny Santana hit another single and two more scored to cut it to 6-5. And then Dozier came to the plate. With two men on, he hit the first pitch into the left field seats to cap a seven-run rally with an 8-6 walkoff win.

The Twins reportedly tried to trade Dozier in 2017, then finally moved him in 2018 for three players, including Devin Smeltzer, who continues to pitch for the Twins today.

Extra innings…

-The Twins have added former Angels pitcher, Matt Shoemaker, to their roster on a one-year deal worth $2 million. Shoemaker has battled injuries since he went 16-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 2014, so he, like Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda and others, becomes a reclamation project for the Twins and pitching coach Wes Johnson. They have had success finding value in under-the-radar pitching talent. If they can come close to recapturing his 2014 form, it will be a heckuva steal for the Twins.

-Shoemaker also has a career strikeout ratio per nine innings of 8.1.

-The current contract trend in baseball is the team-friendly one-year deal. The San Diego Padres blew that up with a 14-year, $340 million deal for young slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. If he wasn’t the face of the franchise before, he is now.

-Interesting observation by Pioneer Press columnist Charley Walters on Sunday.

He writes: “Hardly anyone’s noticed, but the Senators played 60 seasons (1901-1960) in Washington, D.C. This season will be the Twins’ 61st in Minnesota, meaning they will have been in Minnesota longer than they were the Senators in Washington.”


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.