The Twins have outrighted third baseman Trevor Plouffe, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). He’ll become a free agent today unless he’s claimed by another organization.
MLBTR projected Plouffe to garner $8.2MM in his final pass through arbitration, a rather sizable sum for the solid veteran. Evidently, any efforts to deal him weren’t showing enough promise to keep him around through today’s deadline to add Rule 5-eligible players to the 40-man roster.
[RELATED: Updated Twins Depth Chart]
Plouffe, 30, no longer fit on a Twins roster that is overloaded at first base and DH while also featuring promising young third baseman Miguel Sano. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams explained in breaking down the team’s offseason outlook, there was some reason to believe that Plouffe might draw at least a marginal trade return. But that obviously didn’t pan out.
That doesn’t mean that teams won’t be intrigued in free agency, of course. Plouffe has carried a .253/.314/.427 batting line and hit 48 home runs over his three seasons and 1,558 plate appearances. That’s approximately league-average production, to go with defensive metrics that have ranged from slightly below to slightly above average over the last few campaigns. He struggled badly early last year, and missed a fair bit of time, but was much better with the bat in the second half.
All told, there’s every reason to think that Plouffe will command a major league deal. Indeed, he could even score a multi-year commitment, depending upon how things shake out. But he likely won’t be drawing a $8MM+ annual payday. Justin Turner remains the clear top free agent third baseman, but Plouffe figures to slot in alongside Luis Valbuena near the top of the remainder of the market.
There had been discussion last winter that the Twins could try to move Plouffe to another organization to make room for Sano. But the club instead elected to keep both and give the lumbering Sano a try in the corner outfield. That move didn’t work out well at all, and in the interim Plouffe’s value fell enough that he was more a non-tender than a trade candidate.