BP360 now on sale! A yearly subscription, '23 Annual & Futures Guide and t-shirt for one low price

American League

National League

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Agreed to a four-year extension with 2B-R Brian Dozier worth $20 million. [3/24]

What is it about pre-arbitration extensions that get your juices flowing—is it the added team control, or the cost certainty? You won't like this deal if it's the former. Terry Ryan guaranteed Dozier $20 million without gaining control over a free-agent year in return—not even through a club option. The nerve. Pre-arb deals that fail to extend team control are rare these days; however, this one makes sense.

Dozier is a durable, above-average player who contributes in a number of ways. Last season he led AL second basemen in ISO and finished fifth in on-base percentage, and he grades as a better-than-normal defender and baserunner. At the same time, Dozier is nearing his 28th birthday and won't qualify for free agency until after his age-32 season. Perhaps the breadth and depth of Dozier's skill set will allow him to start through his mid-30s, but this is a good example where less could be more—had the Twins extended Dozier for a few additional seasons, they'd probably be paying him to sit on the bench.

It's not as if locking in Dozier's costs is without value, either. Ryan has a slew of young players on the way who could make for attractive extension candidates in time. Alternatively, capping Dozier's earning potential now could allow Ryan to pursue a veteran fix or two in the coming winters. Whichever way Ryan chooses to use the financial flexibility, the Twins are about six months away from being as interesting as they've been in six years. Dozier is and will remain part of the reason why.

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Released RHP Jhoulys Chacin. [3/22]

In January, the Rockies signed Chacin to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million as a means to avoid arbitration. On Sunday, Jeff Bridich decided to sever ties without so much as seeing Chacin throw a regular-season pitch. Here's the kicker: it's the correct call.

You might wonder why Bridich tendered Chacin in the first place, but that decision was (and remains) defensible. Chacin was (and remains) a youngish pitcher with more success in Coors Field than most of Colorado's alternatives. Health was (and remains) the biggest question for him, especially following a season in which shoulder trouble sidelined him and cost his fastball mileage. Nonetheless, the Rockies wondered if Chacin could return to form after some time off. As such, Bridich signed Chacin to a new deal, knowing full well the rules governing arbitration-eligible players stated he could release him at a later date without paying the entire contract. That opt-out proved to be Bridich's best play after evaluating Chacin this spring, and so the whole ordeal cost Colorado a little more than $1 million.

Paying a pitcher seven figures for what amounts to a glorified tryout isn't for everyone. Yet Bridich's gambit with Chacin is comparable to the Dodgers and Padres' approaches when they signed various injury-prone arms to fill their rotations. Because Chacin wasn't a free agent, he came cheaper than many of those pitchers—although because his woes stemmed from his shoulder rather than his elbow, he also came with a higher likelihood of attrition.

Sure enough, Chacin failed to recover his arm strength and/or inspire optimism with his attempt to adapt. The whole ordeal stinks for Chacin, whose days as a productive pitcher are likely over, but you get why Bridich did what he did.

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Signed INF-R Hector Olivera to a six-year contract worth $62.5 million. [3/24]

The Dodgers seem to sign every Cuban free agent and pitcher with a damaged UCL, so of course they signed the Cuban infielder with a small tear in his UCL. To his credit, Olivera is more interesting than that description suggests. Here's what our Christopher Crawford offered as a scouting report:

Olivera's tools may not compare with Yasmani Tomas or Yoan Moncada, but he isn't a low-ceiling, high-floor player, either. There's above-average tools across the board, thanks in large part to bat speed that borders on plus and a swing path that allows him to hit the ball with authority to all parts of the field. There's obvious concerns about the durability—and he's not going to remind anyone of Robinson Cano at second-base—but he should be an above-average regular who should be ready to contribute this summer.

How and where Olivera fits onto the 2015 Dodgers depends on variables that are hitherto unclear, such as when he'll get his visa and what the Dodgers want to see from him in the minors before pushing him to the Show. In theory, Olivera could fill numerous roles, ranging from either side of shortstop to the corner outfield. Second or third base would appear to be his most likely landing spot, in part because Howie Kendrick and Juan Uribe are free agents at season's end. Therein is the beauty of having versatile players: you have options regardless of the circumstances.

The money seems like a lot, but that's what you should expect when a player who scouts consider a near-ready starter hits the open market. Of course, there's a decent chance Olivera becomes the next Erisbel Arruebarrena or Alex Guerrero, which is to say a failed investment. In addition to various durability problems the past few years, Olivera is already 30 years old. The Dodgers are betting that his wide-ranging skill set allows him to produce into his mid-30s—or, at least, that his first two or three seasons stateside atone for any late-contract slippage.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
62.5/6 for a 30 year old second baseman? Now they're just messing with us. I'm starting to think they are printing money in the basement of Chavez Ravine.
Submitted in admiration of your headline:

"Strike another pitch, Merritt Ranew"
That headline/title is simply wonderful.
I had somehow anticipated, "It's Olivera but the shouting"
Strikingly, the Twins have avoided arbitration altogether since "going there" with Kyle Lohse in 2006. It seems to be a hallmark of their management strategy.

Are there other teams that avoid arbitration as a matter of course?
Hot New Thing fascination aside, I think Alex Guerrero is better than Olivera right now. Equal as a hitter, much better fielder, and two years younger.

Olivera might have been better, before the elbow injury. That was then.