10:28am: Minnesota skipper Paul Molitor says he’s expecting Plouffe to miss something on the order of three or four weeks, Bollinger tweets. That would seem likely to take him off the trade table, though an August deal could be possible given his reasonably steep salary.
9:32am: Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe has been placed on the 15-day DL with a “cracked rib,” MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports on Twitter. Slugger Kennys Vargas will return to the majors to take his place on the active roster.
[Related: Updated Twins Depth Chart]
Plouffe had been dealing with some rib soreness, with some concern that a DL stint may be required. While it’s a bit difficult to assess the severity of the injury at this point in time, it seems that it could be more significant than had been hoped.
Minnesota has resisted trading Plouffe in the past, but it seemed that this summer might present an opportunity to make a move — particularly with Miguel Sano failing to take to right field after shifting off of the hot corner. Now, though, he may not be a viable candidate to move in the coming weeks.
Despite taking him out of immediate trade contention, the injury could actually help pave the way for an eventual deal, at least in theory. Sano ought to have a chance to cement himself at third, which would seemingly make Plouffe extraneous. Of course, that had seemed to be a reasonable line of thinking last winter, too.
Plouffe is owed $7.25MM this year and can be controlled for another campaign via arbitration, which had made him a worthwhile target for teams looking to plug a gap now and in 2017. He has typically presented as a solid all-around player with twenty homer pop, but this year has been a struggle. Plouffe owns a .252/.283/.399 bating line with seven home runs over 231 plate appearances for the season.