The Rays have acquired infielder Trevor Plouffe from the Athletics for cash considerations or a player to be named later, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes (Twitter links). The Rays will also receive cash in the deal, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets, with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adding that the Rays will receive over $2MM to cover a portion of the approximately $3MM left on Plouffe’s $5.25MM 2017 salary. The Rays have moved righty Matt Andriese (hip) to the 60-day DL to clear space for Plouffe on their 40-man roster.
The Athletics designated Plouffe for assignment last week after he batted just .214/.276/.357 while striking out 29.1% of the time in 199 plate appearances this season. The 31-year-old also had a somewhat disappointing 2016 campaign with the Twins in which he hit a modest .260/.303/.420 while earning below-average marks in UZR and DRS for his defense. The Twins then outrighted him rather than taking him through the arbitration process.
Still, there’s perhaps reason for the Rays to hope Plouffe will be somewhat productive. He was a decent regular in Minnesota in 2014 and 2015, and he has decent power (with 103 career big-league home runs) and can play either infield corner. He’s also batted a solid .269/.345/.459 against lefties in his career, whereas the Rays as a team have hit a modest .227/.312/.374 against southpaws.
The Rays have established players at third (Evan Longoria), first (Logan Morrison) and DH (Corey Dickerson), but the left-handed Morrison, despite having a very strong season overall, has not hit lefties well in his career. The Rays could try to find further opportunities for Plouffe as a pinch-hitter, and he should improve their bench, which has had uninspiring options like Michael Martinez and Rickie Weeks to man the infield corners. Also, as ESPN’s Jim Bowden points out in a tweet, the Rays’ AL East rivals the Red Sox have struggled at third base this season and had interest in Plouffe last winter, and the Rays acquiring him prevents the Red Sox from acquiring him now. Plouffe is eligible for free agency after the season.