The signing follows months of rumors that the Nationals were in the market for a second baseman, though the Nats were clear that they were happy with the in-house options (like Howie Kendrick, Wilmer Difo, Carter Kieboom, and Luis Garcia), if they couldn’t find the right fit on the free agent market or in a trade.
“If there was a definite everyday second baseman that we liked that we thought was an upgrade, we would certainly consider that,” Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters in Las Vegas.
Rosenthal wrote last week that after, “... losing out on Ian Kinsler — who rejected a one-year, $5 million offer from the Nats in favor of a two-year, $8 million contract with the Padres — the team [was] talking to another free agent, Brian Dozier,” noting at the time that Washington’s preference was for adding, “... a one-year stopgap as they await the arrival of Carter Kieboom.”
Dozier, who turns 32 this May, played for both the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018, posting a .215/.305/.391 line, 30 doubles, and 21 home runs in 151 games and 632 plate appearances, over which he was worth 0.8 fWAR (down from 6.2 and 5.0 fWAR in 2016-17, respectively).
MLBTraderumors.com matched the Nats and Dozier up earlier this winter in their free agent predictions, projecting he would sign something like a 1-year/$10M contract in free agency after making $9M in 2018 in the final year of a 4-year/$20M extension he signed with the Twins in 2015.
If the reports are accurate today, the Nationals got him for another $9M and acquired a veteran second baseman with bounce-back potential after a down year who can bridge the gap until prospects like Kieboom are ready to take the next step.
More info when it’s available...
Free agent second baseman Brian Dozier is in agreement with the Washington Nationals on a one-year, $9 million deal, league sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 10, 2019