The Washington Nationals have been one of the most active teams in baseball this offseason, and Thursday morning they addressed their biggest remaining roster question outside of Bryce Harper.
According to multiple reports the Nationals and free-agent second baseman Brian Dozier have agreed to a one-year contract. The team has not yet confirmed the signing.
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
Dozier, 31, split last season between the Twins and Dodgers, hitting .215/.305/.391 (88 OPS+) with 21 home runs in 632 plate appearances. He hit 34 home runs in 2017 and 42 home runs in 2016. Dozier is not so old that a bounce-back year in 2019 is out of the question, plus his launch angle and exit velocity numbers were good in 2018. He's a nice buy-low candidate.
The Nationals of course remain in the hunt to re-sign Harper, but even if Harper leaves, the club will still feature a strong starting lineup. Here's the batting order second year manager Dave Martinez could run out there this coming season:
- RF Adam Eaton
- SS Trea Turner
- 3B Anthony Rendon
- LF Juan Soto
- 1B Ryan Zimmerman
- 2B Brian Dozier
- C Yan Gomes/Kurt Suzuki
- CF Victor Robles
- Pitcher's spot
Prior to the Dozier signing, Washington's top in-house second base candidates were utility men Howie Kendrick, Wilmer Difo, and Adrian Sanchez. Kendrick at this point of his career fits best as a part-time player who moves around rather than a starter at second base. His mobility isn't what it once was and that figures to be especially true as he returns from an Achilles injury.
Dozier did not rank among our top 50 free agents. He joins Gomes, Suzuki, Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, and Trevor Rosenthal as notable Nationals' offseason additions.