Dozier eager to put focus on season ahead

January 27th, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's been quite the rollercoaster offseason for Twins second baseman , who had to deal with his name involved in trade rumors for several months.
But with the Twins set to report to Spring Training in little more than two weeks -- and the Dodgers opting to trade for Rays second baseman on Monday -- it appears Dozier will open the season as the club's starting second baseman, just like he wanted.
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Dozier, in Minneapolis for the Diamond Awards and TwinsFest this weekend, was reluctant to discuss the trade rumors, but eventually he opened up about the process and how he's glad to still be in Minnesota.
"I ain't talking about trades," Dozier said with a smile. "Obviously, a lot of things went on this offseason that, quite frankly, I don't necessarily like. But at the same time, it is what it is. Now that the point is where everybody's focused on Spring Training and trying to get this team where it needs to be, I'm here and I'm happy to be a part of it."

Dozier didn't get into specifics about what he didn't like, but with the Twins not making any major moves since signing catcher in November, the trade rumors surrounding Dozier became Minnesota's biggest storyline of the offseason.
Dozier, coming off a season in which he hit 42 homers, has two years and $15 million left on his contract. So he could remain a trade candidate moving forward, but he said he's hopeful he's not simply viewed as a trade chip by the front office.
"I've got two years left, I don't want it to always be like a ping-pong ball or something, any time an opening comes up and all that," Dozier said. "That's kind of been the disappointment through everything. I don't really know how to put it, but I don't want to be [dealing with] that up until the Trade Deadline and next offseason and stuff. I'm here and I'm trying to help this team win games, and that's what I'm here for."
Dozier, though, did say he's been in contact with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine throughout the process, and he has enjoyed getting to know them. He met with them in person at the Winter Meetings and was kept in the loop with the help of his agent, Damon Lapa.
"I've had a couple conversations with Derek and Thad, and I'm very optimistic about this upcoming season," Dozier said. 
The Dodgers were the most logical trade candidate, but they opted to trade prospect for Forsythe in a one-for-one deal. The Twins were looking for more than just De Leon, and while the Giants and Braves are among the teams that expressed interest in Dozier, the Dodgers always made the most sense with their need for a second baseman and strong farm system.
"We had healthy conversations with that franchise and they were professional throughout," Levine said. "They informed us beforehand they would be moving in a different direction. There were some prolonged conversations, but they handled it very professionally."