The Cincinnati Reds have an interesting chance to add an elite bench player by signing Trevor Plouffe.
The Cincinnati Reds have no real back-up corner infielder headed into 2017, instead relying on Adam Duvall to move in from left field. The Reds haven’t had a true back-up to Joey Votto in several years. Former third baseman, Home Run Derby champion, Todd Frazier was the back-up before last season.
Trevor Plouffe could be the back-up corner player for the Reds in 2017. The Twins drafted Plouffe in 2004. In 2010 Plouffe made his MLB debut and played all of the infield and outfield positions during the season.
Plouffe had been the Twins’ everyday third baseman since the 2012 season. Since then Plouffe has hit at least 12 home runs every season, including the injury shortened 2016 season. Plouffe is not the fleetest of foot as he led all of MLB with grounded into double plays in 2015 with 28.
Plouffe missed some time to injury in 2016 and only played in 84 games. He still hit .260 with a .303 OBP which are very close to his career numbers. At the end of the season, the Twins outrighted Plouffe to Triple-A and he became a free agent.
Plouffe has averaged 16 home runs and 60 RBI per season. In 2016 Plouffe played both first and third for the struggling Twins. He averaged 120 games per season for good and bad Twins’ teams alike.
The Cincinnati Reds could use a power hitting back-up corner player, especially at first base.
Plouffe could provide a good option to back-up both Votto and Scott Schebler in right field. He is a right-handed power hitter who has experience being an everyday starter. He also could step into right field, if Schebler ends up not ready for the role.
Plouffe would come on a minor league deal. Justin Turner just signed a huge multi-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He may end up a teammate of Brandon Phillips. In 2014 and 2015 Plouffe put up better numbers than Turner.
Plouffe’s value is unbelievable. He is a great candidate to flip for talent midway through the season. Allowing Plouffe to prove his health and power would be a great way for the Reds to add value to their investment.
Plouffe would also allow the Reds to let their younger players advance at their own rate. With Plouffe covering all four corner spots and Jose Peraza covering the middle three, the Reds wouldn’t need to force any players into uncomfortable roles. The Reds could also carry an extra catcher that Plouffe’s flexibility would allow.
The Reds are still a year away from contending. They need to continue to focus on development. A veteran presence like Plouffe’s could definitely help.