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Dozier to Dodgers remains most obvious Hot Stove move

Twins slugger would improve LA at second and against lefties
MLB.com @mike_petriello

Sometimes, deals make entirely too much sense to not just go ahead and happen already. We just saw this when Justin Turner returned to the Dodgers and Mark Melancon joined the Giants, two fits that seemed so perfect for so long that the only surprise was that they didn't get finalized sooner. Now that Kenley Jansen and Rich Hill have joined Turner in returning to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have only one truly glaring hole remaining, and the fit is just as obvious:

The Dodgers need a second baseman. They need Brian Dozier.

Sometimes, deals make entirely too much sense to not just go ahead and happen already. We just saw this when Justin Turner returned to the Dodgers and Mark Melancon joined the Giants, two fits that seemed so perfect for so long that the only surprise was that they didn't get finalized sooner. Now that Kenley Jansen and Rich Hill have joined Turner in returning to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have only one truly glaring hole remaining, and the fit is just as obvious:

The Dodgers need a second baseman. They need Brian Dozier.

Rumors connecting the two teams have been swirling for weeks, and new ones pop up every day. There's no better fit between seller and buyer anywhere else on the trade market, there's few other options for either side to turn to. Most contenders don't need a second baseman, which limits the Twins. There aren't many other second basemen available, which limits the Dodgers.

Hot Stove Tracker

Simply put, the Dodgers aren't going to get through the rest of the offseason without making a move. The Twins might, yet it's hard to see Dozier gaining much more value than he already has, coming off a 42-homer season with with two reasonably priced years ($15 million total) left on his contract.

While Minnesota has some fantastic young talent in Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, among others, the Twins are coming off a 103-loss season that's their worst since moving to Minneapolis in 1961. It's hard to see them competing before Dozier's contract is up after 2018. It's much easier to see a new front office wanting to cash in his power surge for a big return.

So let's get these two together, beginning with some quick explanations as to why it makes so much sense.

Video: Dozier stays hot with nine homers in eight games

Because the Dodgers don't have a second-base solution
The Dodgers got roughly league-average performance out of their second basemen last year, but Chase Utley will be 38 on Dec. 17 and tailed off badly as the season went on, and Howie Kendrick (who played more outfield than second anyway) is now in Philadelphia. If the season started today, they'd be going with backups like Enrique Hernandez or Chris Taylor at second, and obviously that's not going to cut it.

Because there are few other second-base options available
The best free-agent second baseman available is Utley, which might tell you a lot about the state of the market. Other than Dozier, the best trade option is probably Ian Kinsler, who is coming off a great year but is nearly five years older than Dozier and has a partial no-trade clause that includes the Dodgers. The Reds would listen on Brandon Phillips, but he hasn't been a league-average hitter since 2012, and he has a no-trade clause of his own. Logan Forsythe is coming off of two very good years with Tampa Bay and could be part of a larger deal for a pitcher, but that gets overcomplicated when a simpler deal for Dozier is around.

Because Dozier could help with their issues against lefty pitchers
If the 2016 Dodgers had any notable issues other than health, it was that they couldn't hit lefties, finishing last in the big leagues in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging against southpaws. The lefty-swinging Utley was never expected to help with that, but his .154/.206/.264 line against lefties was still underwhelming. Dozier, meanwhile, hit .282/.352/.613 against lefties in 2016, and he has a .270/.343/.512 against them for his career. It'd be nearly impossible for him to be worse, and he'd almost certainly be a huge step up.

Now, would Dozier's noted pull power play as well in Dodger Stadium? The quick answer is "it probably doesn't matter," because even if it did, he'd still be a marked improvement at the position. But the truth is that the effect might not be as large as you'd think, despite Dodger Stadium's reputation as a pitchers' park. Let's take all of Dozier's batted balls that went at least 300 feet in 2016, and overlay them on Dodger Stadium. Do you see much of a change?

Tweet from @mike_petriello: What would Brian Dozier's pull power look like at Dodger Stad? Here's all hits 300ft+. Maybe loses some to LF, but LA has shorter CF than MN pic.twitter.com/FoiKIfzM3k

Not really, right? Perhaps a few lost to the warning track in left field, but then again Dodger Stadium has a shorter center field than Target Field does. Remember, also, what Dozier told FanGraphs during the season, that "a .300 hitter who slaps 5, 10 home runs is less valuable than a .250 hitter who hits 25-30 home runs." He's not wrong, and that's a perfect fit for the Dodgers' stat-savvy front office. 

So let's pick up this suddenly cold Hot Stove and get the inevitable "Jose De Leon, Brock Stewart and Trayce Thompson" -- or thereabouts, giving the Twins young pitching and hitting ready to contribute now -- "for Dozier" show on the road. Make it more interesting by including Yasiel Puig, if you must, or pitching prospect Walker Buehler. Minnesota won't likely find a competitor with a better need or offer than Los Angeles. The Dodgers won't do better than Dozier to fill their second-base spot. Time to make it happen.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Brian Dozier