Shortly after being designated for assignment and outrighted off the 40-man roster, Trevor Plouffe is set to rejoin the Rays, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Tampa Bay will bring the veteran back to the Majors as a depth option with expanded September rosters now in place. Tampa Bay has an open 40-man spot, so a corresponding move isn’t needed.
Regular playing time won’t be there for Plouffe, barring injuries elsewhere on the roster, but he’ll get another chance to finish the year on a good note after struggling for much of the 2017 campaign. The former Twins third baseman signed a one-year, $5MM deal with the A’s last winter after being non-tendered and found himself traded to Tampa Bay after being designated in Oakland.
Plouffe has appeared in 89 games this season (281 plate appearances) and has posted a .204/.274/.325 slash that represents a considerable departure from the generally useful offensive output he tallied from 2012-16 in Minnesota. Plouffe’s strikeout rate has soared to 29.5 percent this season after checking in under 20 percent from 2014-16. His hard-hit rate, line-drive rate and homer-to-flyball ratio are all in line with the levels he posted in his final few years in Minneapolis, but he’s also hitting the ball on ground more than ever (49.7 percent) and lifting fly-balls at a career-low pace (30.1 percent).
Plouffe has batted .276 with a .344 OBP against left-handed pitching this year, but the power he typically has in platoon situations has evaporated (.333 slugging, .057 ISO). He’ll be a free agent once again at season’s end.