Posted on December 27, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The Boston Red Sox have already been one of the biggest winners of the offseason, primarily because of the trade for Chris Sale, but the Red Sox may not be done making moves. The Red Sox may not be poised to make any blockbuster moves, but an addition or two to the periphery of the roster isn’t out of the question. One player to watch in particular is utility man Trevor Plouffe, who appears to be on Boston’s radar.
Plouffe became a free agent after the Minnesota Twins let him go after the 2016 season, not wanting to offer him arbitration and give him a raise after he made $7.25 million last season. A pair of injuries to his rib and oblique held back Plouffe in 2016 and explain why his numbers were a bit down. However, with Plouffe making so much money and not expected to be an every day player next season, it was an easy decision for the Twins to move on from him.
On the surface, Boston’s interest in Plouffe is a bit of a surprise. After being released by the Twins following a down year, most expected Plouffe to land with a rebuilding team that’s not yet ready to compete for a playoff spot in 2017. On such a team, Plouffe could be an every day player and attempt to reboot his career, while also providing a veteran presence on a young team. There’s still a chance Plouffe ends up with filling a role like that on a rebuilding team, but the Red Sox could offer a different opportunity for him.
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Plouffe obviously wouldn’t be a starter in Boston, but he could potentially provide a right-handed platoon partner for newly acquired first baseman Mitch Moreland, leaving Hanley Ramirez to serve as the full-time DH for the Red Sox. More importantly, Plouffe would give the Red Sox a competent Plan B at third base behind Pablo Sandoval.
The Red Sox are expected to give Sandoval a second chance, and by all accounts he’s gotten himself into good shape and is ready to take his shot at redemption. But you can’t blame the Red Sox for being skeptical and wanting a backup plan if Sandoval struggles the way he did in 2015, something they no longer have after Travis Shaw was traded to the Brewers in the deal for Tyler Thornburg. Plouffe would be a great backup to Sandoval at third base, as well as a viable option to backup nearly every other position if needed.
Reports indicate that Plouffe is open to a utility role, and if playing for a winner is a factor, going to the Red Sox would appear to be a great fit. However, he would certainly prefer to go to a team where he’d be guaranteed a starting spot. At the same time, cost figures to be a factor when it comes to Boston’s interest in signing Plouffe.
Plouffe signing with any team is not expected until January, perhaps after a few more free agents come off the board and the market for his services becomes clear. Nevertheless, the Red Sox appear to have interest and may turn out to be one of the top candidates Plouffe considers when he ultimately signs with a team.