The Oakland A's agreed to terms with infielder Trevor Plouffe on a one-year contract for the 2017 season, the club announced today. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A's designated right-handed pitcher Zach Neal for assignment.
Plouffe batted a career-high .260 with 12 home runs and 47 RBI in 84 games with Minnesota last year in a season interrupted by three stints on the disabled list. He was the Twins Opening Day starter at third base for the fourth consecutive season and was batting .302 with two home runs and six RBI in 12 games when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 19 with a strained right intercostal. The 30-year-old right-handed hitter was also out from July 2 to Aug. 7 with a fractured left rib and Sept. 7 through the end of the season with a strained left hamstring. Plouffe started 60 games at third base and 13 at first base.
Plouffe was the Twins first round draft pick in 2004 and had spent his entire career in the Minnesota organization. He made his Major League debut in 2010 and is a .247 hitter with 96 home runs and 357 RBI in 723 games over seven seasons as a big leaguer. Plouffe hit a career-high 24 home runs in just 119 games in 2012 and had 22 home runs and career-high 86 RBI in 2015. He has played every position except pitcher, catcher and center field in his career but has seen most of his playing time with 545 games at third base.
Neal made his Major League debut with Oakland last year and went 2-4 with two saves and a 4.24 ERA in 24 games, including six starts, over four stints with the A's. He allowed a .265 opponents batting average but issued just six walks in 70.0 innings for a .281 on-base percentage. Neal was also 7-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts with Triple-A Nashville where he walked just eight batters in 61.2 innings.