Dozier creates buzz while front office settles in

Dozier creates buzz while front office settles in

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- While Brian Dozier's name generated some buzz as a trade candidate, it was ultimately a quiet first Winter Meetings for new Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine.

The Twins left Thursday without making a splash, but it was a productive week for the new front office to learn more about their own organization and meet with teams and agents.

"I think we laid the groundwork with a lot of teams and potential free agents," Falvey said. "There is no deadline today we need to worry about. We can continue the conversations next week."

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The Twins are still looking for pitching this offseason, and Dozier could be the key to acquiring young, cost-controlled starting pitching. But the only team linked to Dozier has been the Dodgers. There were rumors the Yankees were interested, but general manager Brian Cashman said he hadn't discussed Dozier.

Los Angeles has the prospects to pull off the trade, especially with a package built around pitching prospect Jose De Leon, but the Dodgers might not have much urgency, especially knowing there aren't really any other contenders looking for a second baseman.

Dozier attended the Winter Meetings on Monday as part of a promotional event with Under Armour and met with Falvey and Levine to reiterate he wants to remain in Minnesota. Twins manager Paul Molitor also said Wednesday he's hopeful Dozier is still on the team next year.

Could Dozier be on the move?

"When you talk about valuable pieces that clubs would have interest in, it's not surprising that his name has been brought up quite a bit," Molitor said. "We have to be open minded about just about anything that people would bring to us just to try to increase our chances of doing what we need to do both in the short term, as well as going forward."

The Twins also used the Winter Meetings as a chance to essentially host their own organizational meetings because Falvey and Levine never had a chance to do that due to their late hires in early November. It allowed the new front office to glean information from their scouts and learn more about how they value their own personnel.

"I think the most productive element was the time we spent with our scouts and the group we have here," Falvey said. "We hadn't a chance to meet many of them in person yet."

DEALS DONE
The Twins made a pair of Minor League signings, inking first baseman/outfielder Ben Paulsen and right-hander Yorman Landa. Paulsen, 29, spent part of the last three seasons with the Rockies, hitting .271/.316/.446 with 16 homers and 70 RBIs in 186 games. Landa, who had a 3.89 ERA at Class A Advanced Fort Myers, was re-signed by the Twins after he was taken off the 40-man roster on Friday.

GOALS ACCOMPLISHED
Falvey and Levine were able to get a better sense for the organization, as they also met with the agents of several of their players and also discussed players with other teams to get a sense of their value. The Twins received several trade proposals, even for younger players, and Falvey said he's willing to listen on any player.

Molitor on new front office

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
The rotation still has plenty of question marks behind right-hander Ervin Santana, and the Twins are expected to try to acquire a starter this offseason. They could also use relief help, as well.

RULE 5 DRAFT
The Twins had the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's Rule 5 pick but opted to go with a three-team trade with the Angels and Padres to receive Rule 5 selection Justin Haley and cash. The Twins view Haley as a starter in the future, and he'll come into Spring Training competing for a job in the rotation with a chance he'll end up as a long reliever this season.

GM'S BOTTOM LINE
"In terms of meeting with teams and players, we felt like we got a lot accomplished over the course of the four days here. We didn't sleep much.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.