Trevor Plouffe entered last season as a steady performer at third base with good power and decent fielding. His 2016 season was hindered by several injuries, starting in early April with a right intercostal strain, and he never got healthy, playing just 84 games due to a knee sprain, a groin strain, a cracked rib and an oblique strain. He showed decent pop with 12 home runs in 319 at-bats, close to his traditional pace, and the lowest strikeout rate of his career, though he still doesn't walk much or hit the ball all that hard. He was placed on outright waivers during the offseason, as the new regime in Minnesota did not want to pay Plouffe in arbitration. Thankfully for him, he managed to land a contract with the Athletics, which seems to have him lined up for consistent playing time at the hot corner. As long as he's able to garner consistent at-bats throughout the season, Plouffe could prove to be a cheap source of power, even while playing half his games in Oakland's pitcher's haven of a ballpark.
Athletics general manager David Forst confirmed Wednesday that Plouffe would serve as the team's primary third baseman this season, CSN Bay Area's Joe Stiglich reports. The Athletics officially inked Plouffe to a one-year contract Wednesday after he agreed in principle to the deal a week earlier, and management immediately helped clear up any ambiguity of the 30-year-old's role with his new team. Though Ryon Healy found success as the team's everyday third baseman in the second half of last season, he's expect to split most of his time between first base and DH in 2017, opening up the hot corner for Plouffe, who had been a full-time player for the Twins for much of his seven seasons in the majors. Plouffe is coming off a season in which he hit a career-best .260 over 319 at-bats, but a 31-point drop in ISO and a variety of injuries ultimately made him a disappointment for fantasy owners. The move to Oakland probably won't aid Plouffe's power numbers, but better health alone may be enough to make him a capable corner infield option in AL-only leagues or deeper season-long formats.
Plouffe signed a one-year deal with the Athletics on Tuesday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Plouffe is coming off an injury-plagued 2015-16 campaign with the Twins that saw him slash .260/.303/.420 with 12 homers, 35 runs, and 47 RBI. With young third baseman Ryon Healy coming off an impressive rookie year, it remains to be seen where the A's will put Plouffe on the diamond. Either way, Oakland lands a huge piece that could be due for a bounce-back year.
Plouffe has drawn the interest of the Red Sox, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports. Plouffe, who hits from the right side, could fill a corner infielder role, complementing the left-handed hitting Mitch Moreland at first base and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, a switch hitter than hits better from the left side. The 30-year-old Plouffe is said to be open to a utility role if that's what it takes to extend his major league career, but the Red Sox would be looking for no more than a one-year commitment.
Plouffe has been placed on outright waivers and is expected to clear Friday, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. If he does indeed clear waivers, Plouffe will become a free agent. Plouffe was entering his third winter of arbitration eligibility and would have been due north of $7 million again in 2017. He battled a variety of injuries this past season which limited him to 84 games. The 30-year-old has hit .247/.308/.420 in 723 career games at the major league level.
Plouffe (oblique) was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports. The Twins went ahead and deactivated Plouffe prior to Saturday's game, which may be a sign that he will indeed miss the rest of the season after suffering a strained oblique and strained intercostal muscles Tuesday. Reports from earlier in the week suggested Plouffe was "doubtful" to play again this season but the team has yet to formally rule out a return.