Updated: November 13th, 2011 2:55pm
Notebook: Plouffe likely moving to OF; Carroll deal still not official

Notebook: Plouffe likely moving to OF; Carroll deal still not official

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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One week into his second stint as Minnesota Twins general manager, Terry Ryan already appears to be putting his stamp on the roster.

In an interview with 1500 ESPN's "Sunday Morning SportsTalk," Ryan indicated that Trevor Plouffe's days as a shortstop are likely over.

"It sounds as if I think our thoughts are he's probably going to be best suited to the outfield and DH," Ryan said. "His bat's going to play, I think everybody believes that he's going to hit and he's got pop to all fields, and he showed some of that when he was up this year.

"Unfortunately I think that defensive side of the game affects him some when he does go to the plate, so I think the best suit would be to maybe move him to the outfield some, and maybe that DH role if it's open."

Plouffe committed 11 errors at shortstop in only 45 games at the position last year, and he rated as one of the league's worst defenders according to fielding metrics.

Plouffe played 91 innings in the outfield for the Twins last year, but he played in only seven games as an outfielder during his entire minor league career.

Carroll deal still not official yet

Reports surfaced on Friday last week that the Twins had agreed to a two-year, $7 million deal with shortstop Jamey Carroll, pending a physical.

Carroll's agent confirmed Saturday that a deal was not yet official, and Ryan echoed the same on Sunday.

"Until it becomes official I hesitate to comment. ... As everybody knows, we're in need to solidify the middle of the diamond."

Once -- and if -- a deal becomes official, Carroll is expected to be the starting shortstop and No. 2 hitter in the lineup.

Ryan did add that "it is bothersome that we have not done a better job of developing middle infielders. We have been trying, obviously, and we have gone through a number of shortstops at the major league level recently. So we're going to have to do a better job of developing our own."

Ryan talked with Mauer

Joe Mauer missed 80 games last season with various ailments -- bilateral leg weakness, neck stiffness, upper respiratory issues and mild pneumonia -- and his plan this offseason is to work out in Fort Myers with Perry Castellano, the Twins' strength and conditioning coach.

Ryan said he and Mauer recently had a lengthy discussion about how to make sure the 2009 AL MVP stays on the field more often in 2012.

"He's anxious to get back on track as well," Ryan said. "There's nobody that wants to get out there more than Joe. We need him. He's the middle of the lineup-type of hitter we need, he's a guy behind the plate who can shut down the running game, he's experienced. ...

"I've had a long discussion with him and he's doing well. He's gone about his business the right way, and hopefully everything will be in order when we show up to fort Myers in February, and I'll continue to converse with him."

Latest on Cuddyer, Kubel, Nathan

When asked if he planned to make competitive offers to retain Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, Ryan said, "Yes. We would like to have both those (guys) back. I'm not sure it's all realistic, but we're going to be hurting for offense as it is, and those are two of our better producers. Cuddyer is a perfect fit for us between Mauer and (Justin) Morneau, a right-handed bat, and Kubel can hit."

The question is whether the Twins have enough money to afford to keep both outfielders.

"I can't answer that, because you're going to have to talk to the player or the representative about the finance," Ryan said. "There's room for both of them on the roster."

Cuddyer has garnered reported interest from several teams, most notably the Phillies.

Joe Nathan has been linked to the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays in recent days, but the buzz surrounding the 37-year-old has been minimal thus far.

"Joe I believe would like to stay (in Minnesota) if we can get together financially," Ryan said.

Ryan added that he was "surprised and impressed" that Nathan implemented a changeup to his arsenal this season.

Sources close to Nathan have indicated that the closer's top priority is to play for a winning team in 2012.

Minor signings

Late last week the Twins announced two minor league signings: utility man Brian Dinkelman and right-hander Jared Burton.

Dinkelman, 28, hit .243/.316/.324 with 31 extra-base hits in 526 plate appearances for Triple-A Rochester last season and .301/.346/.315 in 78 plate appearances for the Twins.

Burton, 30, underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in August and threw only 21 2/3 innings all year. He owns a 3.41 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 73 walks in 169 career major league innings dating back to 2007.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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