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Dozier willing to engage in extension talks

All-Star second baseman will be free agent after upcoming season
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is headed into the final season of the four-year, $20 million extension he signed in 2015, and said he's willing to explore signing another extension, but the Twins have yet to offer him one yet.

Dozier, who is set to make $9 million this year, said the organization is well aware of his intentions to remain with the Twins long term, but the team has yet to engage his agent, Damon Lapa, about a possible extension.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is headed into the final season of the four-year, $20 million extension he signed in 2015, and said he's willing to explore signing another extension, but the Twins have yet to offer him one yet.

Dozier, who is set to make $9 million this year, said the organization is well aware of his intentions to remain with the Twins long term, but the team has yet to engage his agent, Damon Lapa, about a possible extension.

"I do think about it because it's been said enough that I want to be here," Dozier said of his impending free agency in 2019. "You just want to be reciprocated."

Video: AL WC: Dozier belts a leadoff homer to left-center

The Twins, however, have stated they don't plan to explore possible extensions with veterans or pre-arbitration players until they're done with free agency and begin Spring Training. It's not a hard-and-fast rule for the organization, but it's how they're operating this offseason.

But Dozier, who was subjected to trade rumors all of last offseason after his breakout year that saw him hit 42 homers in '16, would like some more clarity from the front office. He said he was "a little bit" surprised they haven't talked about or offered an extension yet.

"They know, trust me," Dozier said. "They know where we're at. I think last year the ball was in their court and I think this year, it's definitely in mine."

Dozier, 30, knows he has leverage as an impending free agent, especially with the way he's played the last three seasons that saw him break out as an All-Star in 2015 while receiving American League Most Valuable Player Award votes in '16 and '17. Dozier is coming off a strong season that saw him hit .271/.359/.498 with 34 homers, 16 stolen bases, 106 runs and 93 RBIs in 152 games while winning his first AL Gold Glove Award at second base.

The thought of hitting free agency is intriguing to Dozier, but he'd like to see his loyalty to the organization pay off with an extension. He's worked to change his diet the last two years, including giving up red meat and fried food in order to give himself more sustainable energy while playing, and said he believes he hasn't hit his prime yet.

"I've had a lot of talks with a lot of guys about approaching free agency and how to handle it," Dozier said. "I don't want to get too caught up in it. But it is the writing on the wall and the elephant in the room."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Brian Dozier