General manager Terry Ryan revealed during a 1500-ESPN radio interview yesterday that Trevor Plouffe will be an outfielder going forward, which isn’t shocking considering how awful the former first-round pick looked as an infielder for the Twins despite playing 680 games at shortstop in the minors.
He has the tools to be a strong corner outfielder defensively and with Jamey Carroll signed to a two-year, $7 million deal that may be the clearest path to at-bats in 2012, but before the middle of this year Plouffe had never even played the outfield in seven pro seasons.
Moving to the outfield full time also means Plouffe’s bat will be held to a much higher standard and aside from a 50-game stretch at Triple-A this year he’s never really produced like a corner outfielder.
He’s hit .262 with a .767 OPS in 337 games at Triple-A and .226 with a .668 OPS in 103 games in the majors, so unless his two-month breakout in Rochester at age 25 is a sign of things to come Plouffe will have trouble hitting enough to be more than a platoon player.
Fans sitting behind first base at Target Field won’t have to worry about ducking as much, though.
Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.
Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.
Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.
A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.
The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:
- Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
- Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
- Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
- Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.
As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.
The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.
La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.