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Article: Trevor Plouffe: Third Base or Utility Role

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#21 DJL44

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 11:30 AM

It all comes down the the Twins evaluation of Sano. If they're confident he can play 3B adequately then they should shop Plouffe. If they aren't then Plouffe sticks around another year and Sano fights for playing time with Mauer, Vargas and Arcia. I think they'll have more suitors in the offseason than at next season's trade deadline. Trade deadline deals are typically for impending free agents.

 

I don't think a utility role for Plouffe makes sense for reasons hinted at above. It is harder to learn 4 positions and play them well than to learn one position. Plouffe has shown he can handle 3B and be an adequate starter. Someone will value that higher than a utility guy at the corners. Turning Plouffe into a utility guy damages his value if it hurts his 3B defense.

 

Unlike CF where the Twins had no acceptable backup plan when they dealt Revere and Span they do have decent stopgaps in Escobar and Nunez and an additional backup in Deibinson Romero.


#22 Rosterman

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 11:38 AM

Plouffe would become a very expensive utility player.

 

We have a problem with Plouffe. We know what to expect. He has been pretty consistent with his inconsistencies. He will hit maybe .250. For sure around 15 homes. Bat in the middle of the lineup..As some one said, he is in the middle or slightly above of current third basemen.

 

If he was already a utility guy, we wouldn't have to worry about arbitration rewards. Moving him to leftfield, we have Josh Willighham younger. I doubt that he will become another Michael Cuddyer.

 

We can hang on to see how and when Sano does develop, but with someone replacing him in the wings we will then have the same issues the Twins had with guys like Mientkiewicz and Pierzynski...if teams know the guy is on the outs, he loses value.

 

Plouffe has some trade value this off-season. Otherwise, his value depends on another team's immediate due to injury.

 

He will have a semi-long career in a utility role, but until he hits free agency and his salary holds (i.e. goes down) he won't be worth it to the Twins, who could be paying a ultility infielder/outfielder more than the combined salaries of eight other players on the starting field - combined.

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#23 Cast of Thousands

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 12:05 PM

I'm certainly not a Plouffe fan, but will admit his defense has improved some.It couldn't have gotten much worse.I still cringe when he steps into the box, despite his unusual number of doubles.But someone in the FO likes him a ton more than me, so he'll be manning 3rd base til someone else can, all his brain farts aside.I wouldn't even consider him for the outfield.He's to slow and mentally it'd take way to long for him to adjust to the change.I'd move him as soon as there's a replacement.We could easily get a better outfield option for him. 

Not to pick on your post specifically but I had to chuckle at the "too slow" comment.

 

I think you're probably right, he's likely too slow, and yet there are some posters here that are so in love with whatever it is that Pinto has done up to this point that they would put HIM in the outfield.  At first glance, I couldn't FATHOM a situation where Pinto could beat Plouffe in a foot race.  I would have to think Plouffe would be a substandard outfielder, and yet light years better than Pinto.

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#24 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 12:14 PM

Couple things I'd note is that Plouffe right now is in the 5-10 range for 3B.To me, that says he has value.The question at hand is whether or not that value is realized in MN or on another team.At 28, the other question is whether the Twins go year to year or get a cheaper extension buying out a year of FA.That might make him more palatable in a trade, assuming he continues to imrpove.I think there's value in that. 

 

Even as a utility guy, Plouffe could play a corner OF position, 3B, and 1B reasonably well.Heck, he could play up the middle (not terribly well) in a pinch. They could get a full season in for him in that type of role as a 10th man and justify the cost. 

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#25 tobi0040

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 12:25 PM

Couple things I'd note is that Plouffe right now is in the 5-10 range for 3B.To me, that says he has value.The question at hand is whether or not that value is realized in MN or on another team.At 28, the other question is whether the Twins go year to year or get a cheaper extension buying out a year of FA.That might make him more palatable in a trade, assuming he continues to imrpove.I think there's value in that. 

 

Even as a utility guy, Plouffe could play a corner OF position, 3B, and 1B reasonably well.Heck, he could play up the middle (not terribly well) in a pinch. They could get a full season in for him in that type of role as a 10th man and justify the cost. 

 

I agree completely.Maybe he is closer to the 8-13 range....but he has a ton of value and we could justify the $3-4M.We definitely should have that laying around.

 

I would argue the Red Sox had guys like that on their bench/platooning last year.Nava had a .831 OPS but didn't get a majority of reps on the OF.Mike Carp was a utility guy and ended with an .885 OPS.

 

The Rays have done this for a few years.They had five guys on their bench last year with over a .700 OPS.Plouffe's .740 could turn to .790 by sitting him against righties here and there.


#26 stringer bell

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:48 PM

Plouffe has closed his splits considerably this year.His OPS vs RH pitching is .730, vs. LH pitching .751.One might be able to cherry-pick a couple dozen starts where he would be likely to struggle, but every right hander is not kryptonite.


#27 James Richter

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 02:11 PM

There's way too much uncertainty surrounding Sano's development and final position right now to say conclusively that he'll be manning the hot corner at any point in 2015. Meanwhile, we already have a cost-controlled, average or better performer at the position. Now, if somebody approaches the FO and offers an overpay for Plouffe, make the deal. But they shouldn't be shopping him until Sano proves he's ready to stick at 3B in the Majors.

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#28 Mike Sixel

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 03:12 PM

I don't think Sano is here next year. Keep Plouffe. Quit trading away the present for a future that may never come. if they get a bottleneck, then figure it out.

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#29 DJL44

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 03:20 PM

There's way too much uncertainty surrounding Sano's development and final position right now to say conclusively that he'll be manning the hot corner at any point in 2015.

 

I am pretty much counting the Twins out in 2015. If they get to .500 that will be a huge improvement and that's still a long way from contention. Their next shot at contention is when Sano and Buxton are in the big leagues.

 

Put it another way, I'm pretty sure trading Trevor Plouffe isn't going to be the only reason they don't win the division next season.


#30 Dantes929

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:51 PM

I used to really dislike Plouffe but he has grown on me His hitting approach has been better and his defense has been better but honestly, I don't know how. I was at a game recently and watched him as the pitch was thrown. He was basically standing upright with just a little step forward. I could not believe his posture. I looked at the other infielders and saw what I expected, a crouch with glove held fairly low. Maybe this is how third basemen are taught now but I don't recall Robinson, Nettles or Castino standing upright as the ball was pitched.

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#31 DocBauer

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 06:30 PM

I don't worry about Sano playing 3B or throwing. Generally speaking, TJ surgery for a position player is just not as big a deal as for a pitcher. A pitcher has to regain speed on his fastball, but also confidence and feel for his assortment of pitches. A position player is looking to get the ball from point A to point B, not throw it by someone or put break on his throw. Further, Sano is reported to have a very strong arm, so even should it take a little while for full strength to return, he should still have more than enough to play his position. To me it's the same as it always has been, the footwork and glove to play the position. And despite some error issues, not surprising for any young left side infielder, the former SS has impressed with his work habits and his improvement. Scouts have all indicated he can play the position. The concern isn't his arm, but just shaking off the rust and getting back on track. To those who can remember, it took time for Gaetti to turn in to the outstanding defender he became, same with Koskie, and the same with most young 3B. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Sano struggle some defensively at first as well.
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#32 DocBauer

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 06:38 PM

I would absolutely keep Plouffe for now. So many teams scramble constantly to find a quality defensive 3B who can actually contribute offensively. Even if Plouffe is, as expected, a stop gap, he will have actual trade value when Sano is ready. But unless someone offers a deal that is stupid to turn down, I don't think you weaken your infield and offense by trading him at this time. Now, Sano ready, and Plouffe keeps playing and hitting the way he has this season, still with improvement possibility, then we will have to consider trade options vs a quality role player, possible LF. For now, it's not worth fussing about. He's our 3B for the time being.

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#33 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 11:14 PM

I really hope the Twins hang onto Babe Plouffe. No need to send him packing this winter in a trade or other means. Miguel Sano missed the season and hasn't played above AA. The Twins need a 3rd basemen, that 3rd basemen is Trevor Plouffe. If you wanted to argue that Santana will be the everyday SS and Escobar slides over to 3rb duties, maybe I could entertain that argument, but I don't think we've seen enough for Santana at SS to give him that job over Escobar.

 

Escobar hasn't been great defensively, but he makes the plays he needs to make, he's young, cost controlled and seems to be getting better. Plouffe has done nothing this season to lose his job. Make Sano steal it from him.

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#34 The Wise One

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 03:14 AM

The only reason to trade Plouffe would be that you had an offer you couldn't refuse. You know the trade poposal that make you think the other GM is a little like Santa. If Sano is deemed near ready and a GM sees a player he needs for his team, Plouffe could fetch a high return. Ryan is not above fleecing a team in a trade.

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#35 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 03:57 AM

What's the upside of trading Plouffe? What do you think the Twins could get for him in return? A third basemen who can hit could be a useful addition for a contending team heading down the stretch to replace an injured starter, but I'm not sure there's much of a trade market for that in the off-season.

 

I think any GM makes any trade if he thinks he's getting lopsided value, but I don't think anyone is going to give that up for Babe Plouffe.

 

Getting prospects back for MLB regulars doesn't seem like a recipie for success. This team needs to start winning, continuing to throw away current value for future hope needs to take a back seat to winning in 2015, winning sooner than later.

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#36 The Wise One

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 06:02 AM

A 22 year old future Ace typefor any Twins regular. LikeI said, Santa GM S what the A's gave to Chicago and Boston.

Edited by The Wise One, 27 August 2014 - 06:05 AM.


#37 Badsmerf

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 08:45 AM

 Scouts have all indicated he can play the position.

 

That is not true at all. While he has improved (pretty hard not to when he committed 42 errors in 2012), he is still an uncertainty at the position. He is big, and will only get bigger. That doesn't mean he can't play a passable 3b, just that science is against him. There is a big difference between noting an improvement, and being confident he remains at 3b. 

 

I can see the Twins keeping him in AAA for an entire year with the excuse that his defense needs to improve. 

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#38 DJL44

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 08:56 AM

Plouffe will only "remain" at 3B for 3 more seasons, then he'll be gone. Sano doesn't have to stick past age 30, just fill the gap in the near term.

 

By "blown away" I'm assuming you would agree that if Terry Ryan can find another starting pitching prospect with the pedigree of Alex Meyer that it would be a sufficient return for Plouffe.


#39 Jdosen

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 09:09 AM

I think the Twins should do what they can to keep Plouffe at 3B if at all possible because most of his value this year has been accumulated on the defensive side of the ball--he rates out about 9 runs above average defensively, while rating about about average at the plate (105 wRC+).With that being said, a move to another position, presumably a corner outfield spot, would in theory make him a less valuable player.I can envision that a Plouffe at 3B/Sano at LF package would produce more WAR than Plouffe at LF/Sano at 3B, but we don't know that yet.Which is ok, because we don't need to decide right now, and I think it's a decision (i.e. the decision to defensively move either Plouffe or Sano) the Twins shouldn't make until they must.

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#40 stringer bell

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 05:01 PM

Plouffe was co-player of the week last week--a sign that this is a good player getting better or the pinnacle of a mediocre career?

 

I can't believe he didn't win player of the week or month when he was on his home run binge in 2012.Someone else must have been just as hot or hotter or...reached a milestone like when Thome hit his 600th HR.




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