Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors: Team Close To Contract With Cuban Star, Brian Dozier Trade Tabled?

Los Angeles Dodgers rumors indicate the team is closing in on a minor league deal with former Cuban star Jose Miguel Fernandez. A report by MLB analyst Jesse Sanchez confirms that the sides are nearing a deal, possibly giving the Dodgers a future answer at second base. If the front office in Los Angeles feels that Fernandez is still far off from making his Major League debut, then it might not table the Brian Dozier trade talks. If the thought process is that Fernandez could be immediately available, the Dozier trade chatter could die down in Los Angeles.

Jose Fernandez played eight seasons in Cuba, posting a .319 batting average and .403 on-base percentage. Adept at getting on base, Fernandez was a consistent hitter who quickly emerged as a star for the country. In the 2012 season, he posted a .355 batting average on .456 on-base percentage during his best year in professional baseball. Fernandez is now 28 but hasn’t played since the 2014 season. That time off from playing organized baseball could mean that Fernandez isn’t ready to go with the Dodgers by the end of spring training.

A previous article by Baseball America discussed Fernandez when he first became available in free agency. The Cuban star had to be cleared by Major League Baseball, finally making him available to sign with a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers. Baseball analyst Ben Badler gave his opinion on Fernandez and how he looked at the plate.

“Fernandez, 27, ranked as the No. 3 player in Baseball America’s April 2014 rankings of the top 20 players still in Cuba. Fernandez is an offensive-minded infielder with excellent plate discipline and bat control from the left side. During his final full season in Cuba (2013-14), Fernandez hit .326/.482/.456 with 65 walks and 10 strikeouts in 314 plate appearances, ranking second in the league in OBP.”

Brian Dozier Home Run Against Indians
[Image by Jason Miller/Getty Images]

There had been a number of Los Angeles Dodgers trade rumors about acquiring Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are very intent on dealing the All-Star second baseman before spring training and he comes with a very team-friendly contract. During the 2016 MLB season, Dozier had 82 extra base hits (42 homers), 99 RBIs, 104 runs scored, and a .268 batting average. He also ranked as one of the best players in baseball during the second half, adding a lot of additional trade value for the Twins.

Dozier still has two years left on his contract, with a salary of $6 million during the 2017 MLB season and then $9 million for 2018. Paying just $15 million for two years of a high-level second baseman is a huge bargain in baseball, which could be why the Twins have been holding out for a great deal. Previous negotiations between the Dodgers and Twins got bogged down when the Dodgers offered a one-for-one trade and the Twins requested more players in return for Dozier.

Dodger Stadium Above View
[Image by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]

Dodger Stadium could see a number of new players during the 2017 MLB season, as the team tries to add pieces to win the National League West again. The team traded catcher Carlos Ruiz to the Seattle Mariners and second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers also came to terms on a contract extension for third baseman Justin Turner and signed free agent starting pitcher Rich Hill to a deal. Since then, the front office has been focused on improving the team at second base.

With the deal nearly complete to sign Jose Miguel Fernandez, the team has some time to find out if he is ready to make his Major League debut this season. Though it is a minor league deal he is signing, it likely has a spring training invite attached to it. If the team is unsure of whether he will be ready by Opening Day, there could be increased Los Angeles Dodgers rumors about acquiring Brian Dozier as a short-term fix.

[Featured Image by Jeff Gross/Getty Images]