Never a team to miss a chance to make moves, the Oakland A’s have found their groove with a couple under-the-radar pickups in the past week. On January 4, they signed outfielder Rajai Davis to add some much-needed speed to their arsenal. On Tuesday, January 10, they followed that up by signing infielder Trevor Plouffe to a one-year, $5 million deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was first to report the deal.
Sources: Free-agent infielder Trevor Plouffe to Athletics. Agreement in place. Deal pending a physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 11, 2017
Trevor Plouffe Signs with Oakland A’s
The 30-year-old Plouffe had spent his entire major league career with the Minnesota Twins prior to signing this deal with Oakland. Plouffe made his MLB debut in 2010, and became a staple in Minnesota’s lineup in 2012. A lifetime .247 hitter, Plouffe’s best years came from 2014-2015. Across those two seasons, the right-handed hitter racked up 166 RBI, 36 home runs, and 75 doubles. However, he also struck out 233 times in that span, against just 103 walks; strikeouts have been an issue for him in his career.
Injuries have plague him throughout the years, as well. He played a career-high 152 games just two seasons ago, but prior to that had never played in more than 136 games in a season. In 2016, he took the field for just 84 games, his fewest since 2011.
However, Plouffe does still have 20+ home run power, and gets on base at a strong clip. If healthy, he will be an asset to Oakland’s lineup. His true value, however, lies in his versatility. He can play both corner infield positions well, and can fill in at shortstop if necessary. He also knows how to play both left and right field, should the A’s ever need him to.
According to Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle, the plan, for now is to have Plouffe take over as the primary third baseman. Youngster Ryon Healy, who had a strong first season in 2016, will move from third and become the designated hitter, while also splitting time with Yonder Alonso at first.
While things could change in Spring Training, that move should help Healy most of all. Though more than competent with a bat in his hands, Healy struggled defensively at the hot corner; he committed nine errors in 72 games last season. The lower pressure of a DH/first base role should also allow Healy to develop his bat even further.