FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins second baseman James Dozier is in the last year of his contract, and from what he's heard from the front office, he won't be offered an extension this spring. That means barring a dramatic reversal, Dozier will be a free agent after the season.Dozier, who
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins second baseman James Dozier is in the last year of his contract, and from what he's heard from the front office, he won't be offered an extension this spring. That means barring a dramatic reversal, Dozier will be a free agent after the season.
Dozier, who is earning $9 million this season in the final year of a four-year extension signed in 2015, said at TwinsFest in late January he wanted to sign a long-term deal to remain in Minnesota. But it's gained no traction since then, and the Twins haven't even engaged Dozier or his agent for a possible extension.
"I've said I wanted to stay here since forever, but I've really vocalized it the last couple years," Dozier said. "But I just don't think it's in their future, from what I've been told. We'll see if anything else shakes out, but I'll leave at it."
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Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey wouldn't get into the specifics of their dealings with Dozier but said just because a deal doesn't get done in Spring Training doesn't mean they can't explore future discussions.
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"We keep those conversations and specifics private, but I would say when a guy of Brian's caliber is approaching free agency, there's an intriguing aspect to that, as Dozier said," Falvey said. "We recognize that. We want to be thoughtful. We have conversations with agents and players and talk big picture and parameters. We don't rule anything out, but we have nothing at this stage to announce."
Dozier, 30, said the best word to describe how he feels is "disappointed," but he understands the business aspect of it. The Twins have Jorge Polanco at shortstop and several highly regarded middle infielders in their Minor League system such as Nick Gordon, Wander Javier and Royce Lewis.
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Dozier, though, is one of the faces of the franchise along with Joe Mauer, who is also in the last year of his contract. Dozier was an All-Star in 2015, hit a career-high 42 homers in '16 and followed that with 34 homers last season while winning his first Gold Glove Award at second base.
"When you put your heart and soul, me and my wife, into an organization and you say you want to be here and see this thing out for a long time and nothing comes to fruition or is even explored, it is what it is," Dozier said. "I get it. And that's why you have forget about that and play to win this year. Whatever happens after this year, happens."
Dozier, though, said he's already shifted his focus to trying to help the Twins reach the postseason for a second consecutive year. With another strong season, he could be in line for a sizable contract in free agency as a power-hitting second baseman who can lead off and play above-average defense.
"It's pretty much black and white from what I've been hearing, which is upsetting, but you turn the page and play to win," Dozier said. "For now, it's disappointing news but you set your sights on playing for a championship."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.