Twins call up prospect Trevor Plouffe to fill in for injured J.J. Hardy

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Initially when the Twins placed J.J. Hardy on the disabled list they thought he’d return after the minimum 15 days and called up 28-year-old, light-hitting utility man Matt Tolbert rather than a legitimate prospect to replace him on the roster.
However, now Hardy’s wrist injury is proving more serious than originally thought and he’s not expected to return until at least next week, so the Twins have called up 24-year-old former first-round pick Trevor Plouffe and he’ll be in the starting lineup at shortstop tonight against the Brewers.
Plouffe was the 20th overall pick in the 2004 draft and the Twins pushed him very aggressively through the minors, but he never cracked even a .750 OPS at any level and hit just .256 with a .704 OPS in nearly 3,000 plate appearances prior to this year. He ranked just 27th on my annual list of the Twins’ top prospects this offseason, but Plouffe has finally shown some pop at the plate in his third crack at Triple-A, hitting .303 with 18 extra-base hits and an .860 OPS in 38 games prior to the call-up.
Obviously six weeks of solid hitting at Triple-A doesn’t cancel out six years of poor numbers at every level, but Plouffe is still just 24 and the Twins seem confident that the strides he’s made this season are legitimate. Minnesota has had trouble developing young middle infielders for basically Ron Gardenhire’s whole tenure, so with Hardy perpetually banged up and Orlando Hudson manning second base on a one-year contract Plouffe taking a step forward would be huge.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.