Plouffe's impending return no doubt played a role in the trade of Valencia.
As far as the Twins are concerned, third base belongs to Trevor Plouffe. He's due to return to the team at some point this week, and there's no doubt in my mind that the front office wanted to nip this whole third base situation in the bud before that happened. Danny Valencia owned third base, was terrible for more than a year, was demoted, and then was usurped when Plouffe started his Jose Bautista impression.
"He just wasn't taking good at-bats. I know he was frustrated. Sometimes those things snowball on you. So it wasn't a matter where we were down on him or anything else, it was just a situation where this might be a better opportunity for him."
And then about Plouffe:
"I don't think we ever want to hand anybody a job, but Trevor has done a pretty good job over there," Antony said. "He's kind of established himself. He started off as a guy we were trying to find spots in the lineup for him. When we put him at third he kind of took off and did a nice job. So as much as anybody, he's probably earned a chance to stay there. You can read into it how you want. But we're pleased with what Trevor has done."
I'm content to call that Minnesota Nice for "Third base belongs to Plouffe and we don't think Danny would handle being a backup very well". We know Valencia wasn't handling it in Triple-A. His .250/.289/.399 triple slash is pretty much identical to his Major League triple slash last season.
Removing Valencia also makes an additional space on the 40-man roster. Carl Pavano could be coming off eventually, although his actual return date is still not written in stone. Until Plouffe's return actually happens, Jamey Carroll is likely to get starts at third base.
We'll take a closer look at Jeremias Pineda after the jump.
Pineda is only in his second season of baseball within the Red Sox organization. Last season was a mess, but this year he's hit .421.447/.534 in 142 plate appearances. How is he hitting so well? Let's just pin it all on the .505 batting average on balls in play.
His speed certainly helps. Pineda is supposed to be fast enough to garner ravings for "elite speed", although nobody is fast enough for a .505 BABIP. His speed has helped him to three triples and nine doubles, but he doesn't have home run power. He patrols center field well, and scouting reports also come back with compliments about a strong arm.
Pineda, for his part, is having a good season, but he's 21-years-old and making his third straight appearance in the GCL, so that's hardly impressive. The outfielder has some good defensive tools, but not much to speak of when it comes to the bat.
Everyone seems to agree that this is who Pineda is, which is fine. Valencia wasn't ever going to get a strong return, so the front office found a player who did certain things very well. That's about as much as you can hope for, and the front office certain found a guy with multiple plus tools...even if none of them will necessarily help him hit.
Pineda has been assigned to the GCL Twins.