COMMENTARY | Heading into the 2013 season, the Minnesota Twins had many question marks on their roster.
While most of the attention was focused on whether the duct-tape rotation could last an entire season, there was a big question at third base despite having an entrenched starter.
There were high expectations of Trevor Plouffe this year after he posted a torrid month in June 2012. With a .735 slugging percentage that's usually seen more in video games than real life, there were thoughts that even if that number came down more realistically, he could cement a spot on the Twins' roster.
As we head into the final games of this season, it's become clear that Plouffe is nothing more than a disposable piece on the roster and could be playing elsewhere as soon as 2014.
Plouffe Was Wildly Inconsistent -- Again
The story of Plouffe's career begins and ends with a tale of wild inconsistencies. Just as soon as he has a month that's remarkable as June 2012, he posts a pair of months that resembled July and August of 2013.
During those two months, Plouffe hit .193 with a .316 slugging percentage that Tsuyoshii Nishioka would be proud of. The amount of bad at-bats got completely frustrating and as the Twins faded out of contention, his chances of remaining a Twin started to fade.
A third baseman should be able to be a constant run producer in any lineup. For the Twins, Plouffe simply isn't that guy.
Plouffe Still Is a Nightmare in the Field
One of the most maddening things about Plouffe is that the Twins can't find anywhere to hide him in the field.
They tried to put him at shortstop to begin his career, but after making a solid Chuck Knoblauch impersonation, the Twins decided that they could hide him in right. That resulted in limited offensive production and an emergency move to third when Danny Valencia flamed out.
Since his move to third base, Plouffe has committed 44 errors in the field. Basically, he's a defensive liability wherever he goes on a team that tells its pitchers to let the defense do the heavy lifting. To put it mildly, that's not good.
Plouffe's Effort Is Waning
Effort and hustle are two words that make Twins fans want to put a power drill into their ears, but it's something you would like to see from your team even when it's losing. Plouffe has yet to make that effort.
During his slump, Plouffe started displaying bad body language and faded off on several occasions. Perhaps this is nitpicking, but it's discouraging to both the fans and the rest of the team when your third baseman doesn't care about the game in front of him.
This is something that manager Ron Gardenhire will remember (if he returns) and could cost Plouffe playing time in the future.
Plouffe's Run Production Is Limited to Home Runs
One of the things I wanted to see from Plouffe this year was an ability to drive in runs without hitting them out of the park. Besides, it would be nice to be Chris Davis, but the Twins need solid at-bats as well that can keep rallies going.
For the 2013 season, Plouffe has hit .206 with runners in scoring position, which is unacceptable for a lineup that routinely struggled to score runs.
It sounds like the same thing I said earlier about constant run production, but it's another flaw in Plouffe's game that was exploited this season.
Plouffe Simply Dropped the Ball in 2013
The top reason why Plouffe needed to have a big season resides in Double-A New Britain. That's where top prospect Miguel Sano resides as the heir apparent to Plouffe's job at third base.
There was an opportunity in 2013 to make sure the Twins didn't have to trade him and could hide him at first base or even the designated hitter position, but his flaws are too much to ignore.
The Twins want to field a winning team sooner than later, and Sano is one of those key pieces. In all likelihood, Sano will make his major league debut in 2014 and that leaves Plouffe's future in doubt.
And to think all of this could have been avoided with one solid season.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report and Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
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