Minnesota Twins: Time to shake things up with Plouffe’s return?

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With Plouffe set to return, should the Minnesota Twins shake up the lineup?

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins are scheduled to get third baseman Trevor Plouffe back and not a moment too soon as the team has continued to struggle with its offensive consistency.

Prior to going on the DL, Plouffe was hitting .302 with a pair of home runs and an 8-for-12 series against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Twins have shuffled their lineup a bit, moving Eduardo Nunez and Miguel Sano in and out of the third base spot. 

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And while both have filled in admirably, Plouffe’s defensive work will be one of the key assets upon his return.

During Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, Nunez had a pair of errors including an error in the first that eventually led to a three-run blast by Justin Upton and a very lackadaisical effort in the third that allowed Ian Kinsler to reach second base.

To put it bluntly, Nunez looked bored at third and not very engaged.

Perhaps this could be because he prefers shortstop or because it was just an off day for Nunez but either way, Plouffe’s return to the team will be a great sight for the Twins.

This should allow the Twins to continue to shuffle between Nunez and Eduardo Escobar at short, which isn’t the worst thing in the world for the team.

Sep 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe (24) hits a single in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. The Tigers won 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

The hope is that Plouffe continues right where he left off but the expectations should remain low as he hasn’t played in a major league game since April 17th.

It may be too early in the season to hit complete panic mode but the Twins could definitely use his bat back in the lineup. Having him give in there with the likes of Joe Mauer, Byung Ho Park, Oswaldo Arcia and Sano will give the Twins plenty of RBI options, it’s just a case of finding some people to get on base.

Plouffe’s return could also give manager Paul Molitor a chance to shake up the lineup. Brian Dozier could move back to leadoff, Mauer to second and Sano to third.

Or he could go completely out of the ordinary and have Mauer bat leadoff, keep Dozier at the No. 2 spot and then fill in the rest of the top six with Sano, Plouffe, Park and Arcia.

The latter seems a little crazy but actually makes sense.

I was discussing this with my cousin over the weekend and he pointed out to me that Park has six home runs and now nine RBIs through Sunday.

Mauer on the other hand has 10 runs through 25 games despite having an on base percentage of .459.

Those are statistics that are really telling about the Twins early season misfortunes. So the real question is why not have the one player who is consistently getting on base, get on base and give the team some RBI opportunities?

Danny Santana and Dozier have had their moments but perhaps the best spot for both or either of them would be down in the order to get some potential production from the bottom third.

My vote would be for Dozier to move down as he is just finishing up a miserable 0-for-11 series against the Tigers.

By moving Mauer to leadoff or back to the No. 2 spot, you are effectively giving the three and four hitters two potential opportunities to drive him in as opposed to having two outs with Mauer up.

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It’s little changes that the Twins could start to make that could make a world of difference. Molitor have shown he is very happy with the current lineup but whether it’s stubbornness or inexperience as a manager, he clearly needs to start making some adjustments or his seat might get a little warmer.

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