For the past couple seasons, the Twins have employed Trevor Plouffe as their third baseman with mixed results. On one hand, the team has discovered what appears to be a good power source within the offense. However, his defense is so atrocious that he was moved away from shortstop, and third base hasn't been any better.
With Miguel Sano likely earning a call-up to the major leagues at some point this upcoming season, Plouffe will be moved away from a second position in three years in favor of becoming a super-utility player. After all, he has experience at all four infield positions, plus he's seen time in the corner outfield spots. However, I'm not convinced that this would be the best move for the Twins.
I must admit, I am a fan of Plouffe. He seems very intriguing with his power, but I think it's a bit of a mirage. We all remember his home run surge in June 2012 where he hit 7 home runs in 7 games, and although he's still flashed some power outside of that one week, I wonder if a lot of us don't have unrealistic expectations for him. After all, his career batting average is .240 and his slugging percentage is .411. If you want to be more advanced, his wOBA has been .311 for his career.
As a starter at third base, these are all pretty mediocre. Certainly they would play better if Plouffe was merely a backup instead of a starter, right? You would think so, but then we need to bring his defense into the equation. While we don't have enough data at really any position he's played in his career, it was clearly simple with the eye test that Plouffe couldn't cut it at shortstop and third base hasn't been much better. It's been a case of poor reactions and the inability to throw across the diamond that's hurt him, and while a move to the outfield would hopefully minimize his throwing problems, I can't see how his reactions could improve to the point where he'd be a passable defender. I get the feeling that it would be the Michael Cuddyer conundrum again: He can play multiple positions, but he doesn't play any of them well.
Put it all together, and I foresee that Plouffe won't be an asset to the Twins when Sano moves him away from third base. If he does even provide league average offense, I bet his defense would offset all of his positive value.
Although it would hurt with Plouffe being one of my favorites, I don't think he has much time beyond this year as a Twin, at least if the team is smart. I can't imagine him contributing positive value unless he manages to find a way to improve with the glove.