The San Diego Padres announced the release of infielder Brian Dozier Saturday afternoon.
The #Padres have granted INF Brian Dozier his release.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 11, 2020
Dozier, 33, signed a minor league deal with San Diego in February shortly before Spring Training shut down in March due to COVID-19. He hadn’t been added to the Padres 60-player pool for the 2020 season, so it became evident he might not play in 2020 amidst the pandemic.
Given that Dozier is 33, his role with the Padres for 2020 was never clear. With Greg Garcia and Jurickson Profar projecting to receive most of the playing time and second base, Dozier entering the mix made it a cluster. The designated hitter seemed to fit Dozier better if he played for the Padres in 2020.
There is also the possibility that this move is the end of the line for Dozier’s playing career. At 33 with baseball and the world looking different from COVID-19, Dozier may finish on a high note from his 2019 World Championship with the Washington Nationals. Following a great two-year stretch in 2016 and 2017, Dozier’s production decreased.
If the infielder is to step away from the game, he leaves as one of the best second basemen from the 2010 decade. The Minnesota Twins drafted him in the 8th round of the 2009 draft from the University of South Mississippi.
He debuted in 2012 but broke out in 2014 with 23 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He followed that up with his lone All-Star appearance in 2015. He also finished 28th for American League MVP that year.
Dozier’s two best seasons immediately followed 2015 despite not being named to the AL All-Star team. Dozier hit 42 home runs in 2016 and 34 in 2017. He finished inside the top-13 for AL MVP both years. Dozier also hit a leadoff home run to start the 2017 wild card game against the New York Yankees.
His release opens the door for several infielders to get more playing time in 2020. Greg Garcia and Jurickson Profar will directly benefit, and likely now have a true platoon option for second base.
If either two are struggling, the San Diego Padres can’t afford to keep playing them given the short season with less room for error. Possible replacements include Ty France, Owen Miller, Jorge Mateo, and even CJ Abrams.
Dozier’s veteran presence will be missed in 2020. Younger players will need to step up to fill his absence to help the Padres win.