Should the Mariners take a flyer on recently DFA'd Hunter Dozier?
Earlier this week, Former first-round pick Hunter Dozier was designated for assignment from the Kansas City Royals. Dozier is off to a horrid start in 2023. He is slashing .183/.253/.305 with an OPS+ of 54. Since he has passed the 5-year major league service time mark, he can deny any minor league assignment and choose free agency. The Royals are on the hook for the remaining $17,750,000 on his contract. If the Mariners were to sign him, he would sign for the league minimum of $720,000.
Is Hunter Dozier worth it as a replacement for AJ Pollock? It's close
Hunter Dozier has been in a steady decline over the past 3 seasons since signing his extension with the Royals. Over those 3 seasons, he is slashing .222/.286/.384 with an OPS+ of 84. His splits are not much better either. He actualy has reverse splits, as he hits better against right handers rather than lefty's. Also, his career WAR is -2.7. That isnt good at all. In 2019, he smashed 26 homeruns and a major league leading 10 triples. his OPS+ of 124 was the best he has posted, and the only season he has had an OPS+ over 100.
Should the Mariners take a chance on Dozier? If they did, the likely candidate to get the boot out of Seattle would be A.J. Pollock. Pollock is slashing .148/.220/.333 over 91 plate appearances in 2023. His OPS+ is 54, the exact same as Dozier. Pollock was brought in to be a Lefty masher. Unfortunately, he has not lived up to that whatsoever. Against Lefties in 2023, he has just 3 hits in 44 at-bats (.077 batting average). Pollock was signed in the offseason to a 1 year, $7,000,000 deal by the Mariners.
So, who would be a better choice for the Mariners going forward? I would argue sticking with Pollock over Dozier, even though fans are fed up with Pollock's output. They are already paying Pollock, and the back of his baseball card says he can turn it around. Pollock has a career slash line of .274/.329/.466 and OPS+ of 111. Dozier's career OPS+ is 95. While I am not advocating for Hunter Dozier, I thought it was very interesting to compare him, at his cost, to what we already have at DH in AJ Pollock.