If you want Brian Dozier, now’s the time to make your pitch. At least, that’s the message the Twins appear to be sending to the second baseman’s suitors this week. La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the club’s patience is wearing thin, and a source says that if a deal can’t be worked out during the next few days, the team will prepare to keep him on board for the 2017 season.
The 29-year-old hit his stride in Minnesota during 2016, turning in career-best numbers with a .268/.340/.546 batting line, 42 homers and 99 RBI over 691 PA. Dozier has incurred plenty of interest from teams this offseason, including the Giants, Cardinals and Nationals. The Dodgers appeared to be frontrunners for the infielder, though negotiations stalled earlier this month after their proposed one-to-one swap for pitching prospect Jose De Leon underwhelmed Minnesota brass, who were seeking at least one more prospect for Dozier.
The Twins seem unlikely to budge on their desired return package for the star second baseman, which makes it hard to believe that a trade will be pushed through anytime soon. Per Neal’s report, had the club been open to a one-to-one trade at any point this offseason, it would already have happened by now.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.