Familiar Plouffe fits well within A's plans

Veteran signing shifts Healy to first base/DH; prospect Chapman gets time to develop

Familiar Plouffe fits well within A's plans

OAKLAND -- The A's finalized a one-year pact with Trevor Plouffe on Wednesday, anointing him as their everyday third baseman, with plans to shift Ryon Healy into a shared role at first base and designated hitter.

Plouffe, 30, will earn $5.25 million with his new club. He's a career .247/.308/.420 hitter with 96 home runs in 723 games.

"My agent and I were very transparent with teams on kind of what we wanted for the year, and we had some good discussions with multiple teams, but we just thought the best rapport was with the A's," Plouffe said on a conference call Wednesday. "They were transparent with us as well. Ultimately, I think the best opportunity for me this year was with the A's. I know some of the guys on the team, I think we've got a great group of guys here, and I just really hope to contribute to that."

Plouffe signs with A's

Plouffe, a former first-round Draft pick, spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Twins, who opted to not tender him a contract in his final year of arbitration-eligibility after he was limited to 84 games because of numerous injuries.

The A's, seeking an additional right-handed bat, immediately stepped in and began discussions with Plouffe, whom they first scouted at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, Calif., more than 10 years ago.

"This was actually a fun one for me, because as with most guys we bring in, we have a long history," A's general manager David Forst said. "[A's executive vice president of baseball operations] Billy [Beane] and I went together to see Trevor in high school. I grew up a few minutes away from his high school, so he and I know a lot of the same people.

"We felt like we had a really good sense of who Trevor was early on, and felt like, personality-wise, he'd be a really good fit here."

Healy, 25, attended the same high school as Plouffe, and both played under the late Scott Muckey, who instilled in them a strong work ethic that's still on display. Plouffe was en route to meet Healy to take groundballs in Southern California as he spoke with reporters.

"It's a little bit of a drive to meet up, but I think it's important to develop a little bit of a rapport together," Plouffe said. "I've seen how hard he works, and I think it's great. I think we're going to be able to push each other and become better players because of it."

Healy's natural position is first base, where he will form a platoon with Yonder Alonso when he's not starting at DH.

"We have every intention of getting at-bats for Ryon," Forst said. "Trevor is not going to be out there 162 times, so Ryon is going to have to continue to be ready at third base, and I know he told [manager] Bob [Melvin] last week when they spoke that he definitely will. He'll get plenty of work during the spring, and he'll find his way over there at times."

Plouffe endured a right intercostal strain within the first month of the 2016 season, and he was also out for a month with a fractured left rib, later missing another month of play with a strained left hamstring. He's back to full health now and "doing everything I need to do, plus some," he said. That includes yoga with his wife, "which is sometimes very humbling," he noted.

"You go in and lift a bunch of weights and think you're strong, and then you go into yoga and see how there are certain things you can't do," Plouffe said. "I've been able to work on my flexibility with that."

The addition of Plouffe, creating more flexibility within the infield, allows the A's to avoid rushing third-base prospect Matt Chapman's continued development in the Minors.

"I don't know what his timeframe is as far as getting to the big leagues, but it's clear from a development standpoint that he still needs some time in Triple-A," Forst said. "If and when he's ready to go, then we'll figure it out then."

To make room for Plouffe on the A's 40-man roster, right-hander Zach Neal was designated for assignment.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.