Tag: Trevor Plouffe

San Francisco Giants’ Top Free-Agent, Trade Targets Post-New Year

Signing All-Star closer Mark Melancon to a four-year, $62 million deal was a necessary move for the San Francisco Giants, but it was one that has seemingly limited the team’s ability to improve the roster elsewhere.

“I don’t think there’s anything more to ask of ownership,” general manager Bobby Evans said, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s more what I can do with what we have.”

That’s understandable for a team with one of the game’s highest payrolls, but if the Giants are going to put an end to Los Angeles’ run of four consecutive National League West crowns, they’re going to have to plug holes in left field and at third base.

What follows is a look at five players, both free agents and trade acquisitions, that the Giants could reasonably target to fill those holes—assuming that ownership is willing to stretch the budget just a bit more than it already has.

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Boston Red Sox’s Top Free-Agent, Trade Targets Post-New Year

With 2017 officially here and spring training just around the corner, the Boston Red Sox have the luxury of already having checked the big boxes on their offseason to-do list.

They didn’t need much to begin with but made a splash anyway by adding Chris Sale, Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg and jettisoning Clay Buchholz. A Red Sox team that won the AL East in 2016 is now projected by FanGraphs to be the American League‘s best in 2017.

“If we started spring training right now, we would be content where we are,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said after Buchholz was traded, via Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.

However, we should stop short of seeing the 2017 Red Sox as a finished product. They do have lingering questions to answer, so let’s look at five free-agent and trade targets who could answer them.


1. Trevor Plouffe

As of now, the Red Sox have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base. It’s an upside play in light of his improved conditioning, but also a risky play in light of his disastrous 2015 and injury-shortened 2016.

Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors is right in thinking that third base insurance tops Boston’s remaining needs. The free-agent market has just the guy for it: Trevor Plouffe.

The Red Sox seem to already know this. Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reported in late December that they have their eye on Plouffe, who spent his first seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins.

Beyond the fact he can likely be had on a cheap one-year contract, Plouffe’s appeal is his solid track record. The 30-year-old has been a league-average hitter in 723 major league games. He’s also played mostly passable defense at the hot corner.

If Sandoval were to prove up to the challenge he’s facing, Plouffe could also serve the Red Sox as a platoon bat. He’s a right-handed hitter with an .809 OPS against left-handed pitching. He also has experience at first base, left field, right field, second base and shortstop in addition to third base. 

Of course, Plouffe may prefer a more direct opportunity to be an everyday player on another team. That’s why the Red Sox need a Plan B, such as…


2. Adam Rosales

Plouffe isn’t the only right-handed utility type the Red Sox have on their radar. According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, Adam Rosales is on there as well.

As well he should be. Rosales isn’t so much a utility man as he is the utility man. He’s played at least 80 games at all four infield positions and also has some experience in left field and right field.

What Plouffe has that Rosales doesn’t is an offensive track record. Rosales is only a .227 career hitter with a .665 OPS, making him an easily below-average hitter.

However, Rosales is coming off a breakthrough in his age-33 season in 2016. He put up a career-high .814 OPS with 13 home runs for the San Diego Padres. He backed all this up with a 36.9 hard-hit percentage, a career best by plenty.

Rosales is certainly more appealing as a platoon player than as a possible everyday third baseman. But if he were to pick up where he left off on offense, he would have more than just a steady glove to offer while playing the hot corner.

The Red Sox need a Plan C in their search for a third base/utility type. He might be a long shot, but there’s one guy on the trade market who sticks out…


3. Hernan Perez

The Red Sox may have missed their shot at acquiring Hernan Perez. If they really wanted him, they may have found a way to include him in the trade that brought Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers for Travis Shaw.

But never say never.

Perez quietly found his stride in 2016. The 25-year-old played in 123 games and posted a .730 OPS with 13 homers and 34 stolen bases. He mostly played third base but also some right field, second base and first base.

Perez’s 2016 breakout didn’t end when the MLB season ended. He also starred (h/t Jim Goulart of Brewerfan.net, via Brew Crew Ball) in the Venezuelan winter league, winning the batting title and the Gold Glove at third base.

Perez’s rising star could make the Brewers want to hold on to him. But it also gives him trade value that could only go down in 2017. With Shaw locked in at third base and the other three positions on the infield also spoken for, Perez is only projected to be a utility guy.

The Red Sox would have to give up something (or somethings) of value to get Perez. But if they got him, they would get a younger, more controllable version of what Plouffe and Rosales could be for them—and with more upside, to boot.

Elsewhere, the Red Sox’s list of needs comes down to some low-risk starting pitching depth. That makes them a fit for…


4. Scott Feldman

The Red Sox traded Buchholz in part because it didn’t make sense to pay $13.5 million to a guy who wasn’t guaranteed a rotation spot.

With Buchholz gone, however, the Red Sox do have a slight depth issue in their rotation. Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price are an elite trio at the front. After them will be some combination of Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright or Drew Pomeranz, each of whom has durability questions.

It wouldn’t hurt for the Red Sox to add another body to the mix. But their options are limited. They can only target guys who are in a position to accept an opportunity rather than a clearly defined role. And ideally, whoever they pick up could also be used in relief.

Hence, Scott Feldman.

The 33-year-old has been effective when healthy over the last four seasons, posting a 3.85 ERA. But he’s also no longer a lock to stay in anyone’s rotation anymore. He made just 18 starts in 2015 and found himself pitching mostly in relief in 2016.

This makes Feldman just the kind of guy the Red Sox are looking for: a veteran who could be signed for cheap as rotation insurance and could be stashed in the bullpen if no starting role materializes.

There’s one other free agent who matches this description…


5. Bud Norris

Bud Norris is a lot like Feldman. Once a semireliable starter, he’s fallen on hard times as he’s gotten older and is now in a position to try to latch on wherever he can.

Unlike Feldman, Norris hasn’t been effective when he’s been healthy in recent seasons. The 31-year-old has put up a 5.79 ERA since 2015, in which he’s started 30 games and appeared in relief in 43 others.

Norris still has some of the qualities that once made him a decent back-end starter, however. He’s maintaining his fastball velocity well, sitting in the 93-94 mph range. In a related story, he’s still a solid strikeout artist.

Norris is also a better bet than Feldman to stay healthy. Beyond being younger, Norris doesn’t have anything as serious as Feldman’s Tommy John surgery or microfracture knee surgery in his injury history.

These last two aren’t exactly sexy names, to be sure. But when a team’s to-do list is down to names like Feldman and Norris, that’s how you know that team is in good shape.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked. 

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Trevor Plouffe: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free-Agent 3B

Despite being limited to 84 games in 2016, Trevor Plouffe will likely have a few suitors this offseason as teams target more cost-effective corner infield options.

Continue for updates.

Red Sox Show Interest in Plouffe

Tuesday, Dec. 27

The Boston Herald‘s Evan Drellich reported Tuesday the Boston Red Sox are looking to potentially sign Plouffe. However, the Red Sox are waiting until his price tag lowers, so any agreement before the end of 2016 is unlikely.

FanRag Sports’ Jesse Spector was somewhat surprised Boston is taking such a hard line on Plouffe since he’s not in a position to command a hefty salary:

Injuries interrupted Plouffe’s 2016 campaign, and his offensive numbers suffered as a result. He batted a career-high .260, but his slugging percentage dropped from .435 in 2015 to .420. His 12 home runs and 47 runs batted in were his fewest since 2011, when he appeared in 81 games.

The 30-year-old’s home and road splits do raise the question as to whether he can be a productive hitter outside Target Field, per Baseball-Reference.com:

For that reason, the Red Sox are smart to be wary of overpaying for Plouffe.

According to Drellich, Plouffe might be receptive to the idea of being more of a platoon option rather than an everyday infielder. If that’s the case, then he’d be a nice fit on the Red Sox.

Boston added Mitch Moreland in early December, and Pablo Sandoval will be the team’s starting third baseman now that he’s healthy again.

Plouffe could be an alternative to Moreland at first against left-handed pitching, and he could spell Sandoval at third considering durability was a concern for the two-time All-Star before his season-ending shoulder surgery.

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Trevor Plouffe’s Awesome Play Destroyed by Stubborn Ball Stuck in His Glove

Sit back and laugh at the hilarious moment Trevor Plouffe found out that the awesome play he just made was destroyed by a baseball that had no intentions of leaving his glove. 

Granted, the Minnesota Twins third baseman probably doesn’t share the Internet’s need to LOL in his general direction. 

Deadspin spotted this odd moment that ended in a somewhat humbling web gem. In the second inning of Monday’s game against the New York Mets, Plouffe dove to his left and made a terrific grab to smother the shot hit by Juan Lagares

Unfortunately, that ball was quite comfortable in the glove’s webbing, and decides to take the afternoon off. 

If that weren’t frustrating enough, Lagares—who was credited with a single—would later score on a hit from Eric Young. In the end, the Twins would drop this one to the Mets, 6-1. 

Something tells me they wanted no part of the baseball field by the end of the day, because when the balls weren’t bouncing their way, they were busy getting stuck in gloves. 

Now this isn’t as rare as you might think, because there are a few players who understand Plouffe‘s plight all too well. 

Back in March, an Oregon Ducks pitcher had the ball stuck in his glove so he decided to toss his mitt to first for what would be a successful out. 

Former Giants pitcher Terry Mulholland did nearly the same thing, as did former Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez.  

As it were, it seems we missed the opportunity to see what it would look like for a third baseman to launch his glove from the other side of the field. 

It was a great stop, but you need a little work on the finish, Plouffe


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6 Minnesota Twins Poised for a Breakout Season in 2013

The Minnesota Twins‘ crop of young players in 2013 is much more exciting than years prior simply because they won’t be filling in for injured or ineffective big leaguers. Instead, there will be a team full of healthy, young competition vying for spots on the major-league roster.

Nearly every position player will have a battle on their hands during spring training. This is good, because competition breeds success—and success is something Minnesota needs dearly.

So who’s most likely to jump out as a new everyday player?

2013’s roster could be full of surprises both on the field and on the mound. But only a few will step up and leave an indelible mark on the franchise.  

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Minnesota Twins: The Offense Will Reign Supreme in the Future

If there’s one thing Minnesota Twins fans can take solace in this season, it’s that this team can hit the ball and will continue to hit the ball well for the foreseeable future.

The Twins rank in the top half of the league in many offensive categories.

Minnesota has the sixth most hits in baseball (963), 14th most RBI (448), runs (466), OPS (.732), 10th best batting average (.264), 10th most walks (340), fifth most stolen bases (86) and the sixth best on base percentage (.331).

Josh Willingham has 80 RBI (third best in baseball), 27 homers (seventh most in baseball), a .378 on base percentage (21st best in baseball), a .549 slugging percentage (16th best in baseball) and a .979 OPS (14th best).

He’s locked up for another two years, and is fully healthy.

Joe Mauer, for all of his problems with power, is the top-singles hitter in baseball. He boasts baseball’s 11th best batting average (.321) and the fourth best on base percentage (.417). Mauer is under contract through 2018.

Trevor Plouffe has come out of nowhere to be second on the team in homers (19), and his power appears to be genuine. He’s pre-arbitration eligible this offseason, which means Minnesota will pay him at least 80 percent of his 2012 compensation ($485,000) and cannot go beneath the league minimum. He’s arbitration eligible after the 2013 season.

Ben Revere is hitting .319 with 25 stolen bases. His contract status is the exact same as Plouffe’s.

Denard Span, despite my demands that the front office deal him, is a talented leadoff hitter with a contract keeping him in the Twin Cities through the 2014 season, with a club option for 2015. He’s hitting .291 with 12 stolen bases and a .354 on base percentage.

Ryan Doumit has been a pleasant surprise for Minnesota. He’s been so well-received that the franchise gave him a two-year extension for $7 million total. He’s hitting .285 with 10 homers and 50 RBI, with the ability to play catcher, first base and outfield.

On top of those six big-league players, Minnesota has a plethora of hitting prospects stewing in the minors. Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, Oswaldo Arcia, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano all could be MLB-ready by 2014.

Sano projects as a prototypical power-hitting third baseman, meaning he’ll strikeout his fair share but also bash many baseballs into the Target Field seats.

Hicks and Buxton are basically the same players: fast, defensive outfielders with the ability to hit for a high average and steal some bases with a little power. Buxton has more upside as a power hitter because his body isn’t as filled out at 18 as Hicks’s is at 22-years-old.

Arcia and Rosario project as line-drive hitters with the ability to hit 15 homers per season (maybe more) and hit for a relatively high batting average.

With those players on the rise, it would appear the Twins would need just a few pitchers in the minor league system to step up to the plate. The problem is the two most likely candidates are recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Minnesota’s 2010 first round pick Alex Wimmers underwent the procedure in the last week and Kyle Gibson, Minnesota’s 2009 first round pick, is currently recovering from the procedure.

Beyond those two, the pitching cupboard is bare in Minnesota’s farm system.

The big-league team has one healthy pitcher worthy of a spot in any other teams’ rotation: Scott Diamond (9-5, 2.93 ERA, 1.17 WHIP).

Sam Deduno has shown glimpses of fulfilling his promise as Baseball America’s No. 11 prospect with the Colorado Rockies prior to the 2009 campaign, but still has plenty of rust to shake off.

The Twins may or may not re-sign Scott Baker this offseason (it may or may not be worth it depending on how his elbow recovers).

Minnesota’s starting rotation for 2013 shapes up as: Diamond, Deduno, Nick Blackburn, Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing. It doesn’t exactly get the people going.

Twins fans need to face a simple fact: The next few years aren’t likely to be your Twins of the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

These Twins will win and lose games on their ability to score more runs than the opposition. And not by playing small ball, but by hitting the crap out of the ball and making the opposition pay for pitches left over the plate.

Get ready Minnesota. A new era is coming.

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Trevor Plouffe of Minnesota Twins Is on a Record-Setting Pace

Trevor Plouffe needs to send Danny Valencia a thank-you card—perhaps some flowers or a box of chocolates as well. 

Two years ago, Valencia broke into the Twins‘ starting lineup at midseason. He finished with a .311 batting average and seven home runs in 85 games.

The Twins had finally found a long-term solution at third base, something they had been trying to do since the departure of Corey Koskie following the 2004 season.

Oh, how fleeting success can be. If not for the struggles that Valencia had to open the season, causing his demotion to Rochester, Plouffe might still be the Twins’ utility player, coming off the bench for an occasional start at one of five positions.

On Friday, in the opener of a three-game series against the Brewers, Plouffe went 2-for-4, hitting two more home runs. That gives him 14 on the season to lead the Twins.

Over the last 30 days, no one has hit more home runs than Plouffe, leading the majors with 12. The White Sox‘ Adam Dunn is second with 11, followed by Jose Bautista and Carlos Gonzalez with 10.   

After a slow start to the season when he was coming off the bench, Plouffe was struggling to hit his weight. During his power surge, he is hitting .321, raising his season average to .240.

Manager Ron Gardenhire and the Twins staff obviously saw something in Plouffe to stick with him.

Instead of being the Twins’ utility player, he has entrenched himself as the third baseman, hitting home runs at a Jim Thome pace.

Thome, who is eighth all-time with 607 career home runs, has averaged 13.7 at-bats per home run over 22 seasons. While in Minnesota, he hit 37, jacking them at a rate of one every 13 at-bats.

Plouffe is averaging a home run every 10.4 at-bats for the season.

Dunn, who leads the majors with 23 home runs, is averaging one every 9.7 at-bats, and the Rangers‘ Josh Hamilton, who is having an MVP-type season, averages one every 10.6 at-bats. That’s pretty good company to be associated with this season.

Even though Plouffe only has 146 at-bats this season and is unlikely to continue to hit at such a pace, that won’t stop us from projecting how many home runs he might hit for the season.

Plouffe has played in 44 of 63 games this season—only 70 percent of the Twins’ games. This percentage will increase with his recent success and insertion into the starting lineup.

In those games, he has averaged 3.3 at-bats. Projecting that Plouffe will play in at least 82 of the Twins’ final 99 games this season, that would give him 126 games played for the season with 415 at-bats. At his current pace, that projects to approximately 40 home runs on the season.

Only two players in the franchise history of the Minnesota Twins/Washington Senators have hit at least 40 home runs in a season. Harmon Killebrew, who owns nine of the top 10 single-season marks for home runs in Minnesota, did it seven times. In the other two seasons, he fell just short, hitting 39 home runs. 

The last time Killebrew hit at least 40 home runs was in 1970, when he led the Twins with 41.

It is an extreme stretch, and unfair to Plouffe, to compare him to Killebrew.

By the time Killebrew was 26, the same age as Plouffe this season, he was in his ninth major-league season and on his way to leading the league in home runs with his third 40-plus season in 1962.

Plouffe hasn’t even completed his first season as a starter, but if he can continue to produce at the plate, he might finally be the player the Twins have been looking for to take over third base. 

Perhaps he could send Valencia an autographed baseball, thanking him for the opportunity to be the everyday third baseman and the chance to make history for the Twins.

Then again, with only 11 Twins ever to hit at least 30 homers in a season, the odds are stacked against Plouffe; after all, he’s only played 23 games at third base.

But none of that will stop us from dreaming of the chance for a 40-home run season.

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