Brian Dozier could carve out a role for himself as the DH
Signed just days before the first round of exhibition games, Brian Dozier was expected to add depth to the second base position when the designated hitter had not yet been introduced.
But with a crowded infield and Jurickson Profar likely to have a firm grasp on second base – with spot starts coming from Jake Cronenworth, Greg Garcia, and others – it will be difficult to envision Dozier receiving regular playing time.
The 33-year-old is coming off a down year with the Nationals. In 135 games, Dozier hit .238, but his production (20 home runs and 50 RBI) made him nearly league average with a 95 OPS+.
He’s now three years removed from a .271/.359/.498 slash line with 34 home runs and 93 RBI, but I parallel his potential transition in the DH role to Nelson Cruz. The former Ranges and Orioles star converted to the DH during his age 33 season, which began a string of All-Star selections MVP considerations.
I’m not saying that Dozier is Cruz or vice versa, but you remove an element that a player has to focus on in fielding the ball, and he mashes at the plate. A similar course could happen for Dozier, but it would seem to make sense for him to serve as the designated hitter on days the Padres face a lefty.
Over his career, Dozier has a .270/.354/.500 line against lefties, and this would be a logical starting point as a means for him to receive playing time. Then adjust from there if he experiences success.