The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 24, 2013

Thoma column: Trade season a time to set up the future


But remember: Early last year, the Twins were talking Plouffe as a corner outfielder. If there’s a market for Willingham — hardly certain, given Willingham’s leg issues, his defensive issues and his limp bat so far — the Twins could open third for Sano by moving Plouffe to the outfield.

My take: Plouffe ought to have more trade value than Willingham, and if there’s a contender looking to add a bat at third base, the Twins should give a Plouffe deal strong consideration.

Can Hicks tick? Ultimately, Buxton will be the center fielder. Aaron Hicks could fill whichever outfield corner Arcia doesn’t — but that’s going to require a lot more offense than Hicks has shown so far in his rookie season.

To be fair to Hicks, it now appears obvious that he was brought to the majors prematurely.

My take: I think the Twins would love to have a 2015 outfield of Hicks-Buxton-Arcia (or Arcia-Buxton-Hicks), and they’ll give it a chance to happen.

Edward Thoma (344-6377; maintains his Baseball Outsider blog at Follow him on Twitter @bboutsider.

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