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La Velle: Sano Lost 5 Pounds This Offseason

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:56 AM
Over at Star Tribune, La Velle has a new article up on Miguel Sano, noting that the young slugger entered this offseason with a plan and...
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The Outfield Crapshoot

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:56 AM
Rolling an 11 is sometimes called "a Natural".  When I look at the 11 outfielders heading into spring training, I don't see anything...
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2016 Hammond Happenings

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:25 AM
Good idea, Seth, a current thread.    Chilly, windy morning today.Not many of us out there, but did see a funny thing happen.A...
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MLB.com Top 100

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 07:13 PM
Twins get 6 on the list:    http://m.mlb.com/pro...?list=prospects   2. Buxton 19. Berrios 44. Kepler 60. Jay 91. Gordon 9...
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Article: John Hicks Excited To Join The Twins

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 06:58 PM
On November 11, the Minnesota Twins traded Aaron Hicks to the New York Yankees in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy. Exactly three we...
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Twins Will Seek Competition For Trevor Plouffe

Attached Image: Plouffe.jpg In the TwinsCentric interview with Terry Ryan last week, (the 9-page entirety of which you can find in the 2013 Offseason Handbook), we asked about his confidence in Trevor Plouffe.

John Bonnes: Are you comfortable with [Trevor] Plouffe at third base?

Terry Ryan: Well, he needs some work too. Defensively, he’s a work in progress.

JB: He hasn’t played that much at third base in the minors, right?

TR: No, he hasn’t, but he’s and ex-shortstop and he should be able to make that transition. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Because usually that would be an easier one that going from third to short.

JB: Sure, it’s a little lower on the defensive spectrum.

TR: The ball gets there quicker and it’s different angles and different throws and – there’s a lot that’s different. But, he’s an infielder. He should be able to catch the ball. He’s got enough arm. His accuracy was difficult.

So, we’ve got to make a decision. Alright, is he going to take the next step forward? He’s got enough bat to play there. He’s got enough power to play there. Now it’s whether he’s going to be able to play that position so we don’t have to worry about it defensively. It’s a work in progress.

JB: But you haven’t made that decision yet? You’re not sure…

TR: He’s coming in as the third baseman. Yes, he will. I need to create some competition over there though. And we will. And he’s aware of that. Nothing wrong with competition.

JB: Does that competition include Joe Mauer?

TR: Nope. I’m going to create some competition, but I didn’t say anything about Joe Mauer.

JB: I’m just asking. Have you thought about or talked about Joe Mauer moving to third base?

TR: No, I haven’t. Some fans have, but I haven’t.

So the good news for Plouffe is that he is expected to have the job at the hot corner. The bad news is that the Twins are going to be hedging their bets this offseason.

If the Twins are looking for competition, they had one such candidate this year, but Sean Burroughs became a free agent. Burroughs was an interesting option because he hit left-handed, and the right-handed hitting Plouffe still has a big split (911 OPS vs LHs/ 691 OPS vs RHs) against the more plentiful side of the rubber.

Looking at the Offseason Handbook, there are a few other fairly inexpensive options that might make sense. Eric Chavez put up very good numbers for the Yankees, but the left-handed hitting 34-year-old only had 33 at-bats against southpaws. It’s not clear how affordable he could be, but if he can’t get a job as a platoon player, a spot backing up an unproven guy like Plouffe could be a very nice option.

Most of the other names one would recognize bat right-handed, but each has some other interesting traits. For instance, Brandon Inge used to play catcher. So instead of carrying Drew Butera as a 3rd catcher, Inge could fill in udring an emergency. He had shoulder surgery at the end of the season, but is expected to be recovered by spring training.

Placido Polanco struggled this year, but he was also dealing with a back injury. In the past, the Twins have been rumored to be interested in him and the 37-year-old might be able to occasionally fill in at a middle infield spot. Meanwhile, another 37-year-old is rumored to be retiring, but the always intense Scott Rolen might be an interesting veteran to add to a clubhouse filled with kids.

These aren’t going to be moves that transform the Twins, nor should any of them be used as an excuse to overlook bigger issues. But this might be something to watch late in the offseason, when leftover free agents are searching around, or whenever news of a six-year minor league free agents signing trickles out.

Whoever the Twins sign will hopefully be nothing more than an insurance policy as Plouffe shows he belongs as a full-time starter. Or, like Sam Deduno and PJ Walters, that obscure signing could play a much bigger role than anyone anticipates this winter.


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