NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- With trade rumors involving his name swirling, Brian Dozier got his first taste of the Winter Meetings on Monday, making a one-day trip to represent Under Armour in its new partnership with MLB.
The Twins' second baseman, coming off a 42-homer season, met chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine for the first time in person. Dozier said he understands why he's been subject to trade rumors but ultimately wants to remain with Minnesota.
"I'm a Twin for a reason," said Dozier, 29. "I signed that contract a few years ago because I wanted to be here for a while."
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Dozier, who has two years and $15 million remaining on the deal signed before the 2015 season, spoke with Falvey by phone for the first time last week, incidently on the first day he started offseason workouts. Falvey was honest with Dozier, confirming that he is a trade candidate, and Dozier appreciated his candor.
"He was really honest with me about what to expect the next few weeks and at the Winter Meetings," Dozier said. "It was pretty cool. He was honest and upfront and laid it all on the line, and I like that. Whether it's good or bad, I like that. It caught my eye."
Dozier, along with his agent Damon Lapa, was scheduled to meet again with Falvey and Levine late Monday after Dozier's Under Armour event. Dozier said he plans to reiterate his desire to remain in Minnesota to Falvey.
"I know he knows, but it'll definitely come up," Dozier said.
Falvey said Dozier has been generating interest but declined to get into specifics. The Dodgers have been mentioned as a strong candidate for Dozier given their farm system, and the Yankees reportedly reached out to the Twins about Dozier, but general manager Brian Cashman shot down that rumor Monday on MLB Network Radio.
"You have a second baseman who hit 40-plus homers last year and is one of the elite players in the game, Brian -- among a number of our guys -- is someone we're getting calls on," Falvey said.
Falvey and Levine said they understood the ramifications of potentially moving Dozier, given his popularity among Twins fans and his standing as a leader in the clubhouse. They said they take that into account and it's a reason why it'll take a strong haul of prospects for Dozier to get moved this offseason.
"We told other clubs that we're going into this with the understanding that we're going to value this player more than the industry may," Levine said. "You understand that there's more value than what's at the back of his baseball card. We'll certainly factor that in."
For now, Dozier said he's trying not to stress about a potential trade, that he's actually enjoying the process but is hoping it ends with him still in a Twins uniform.
"I find it exciting," Dozier said. "I'm not going to sit here and say I don't look at it or pay attention to the rumors because I do. It's your career and you want to see how other teams value you as well as the Twins. But at the same time, I've been in the trenches for five years and you want to be here a long time as part of the rebuilding process. I feel like there's a lot excitement for the years to come, and I want to be a part of that."