Thursday was an eventful day for the Athletics, as highly-touted third base prospect Matt Chapman was called up to make his MLB debut. With the A’s needing to clear space on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters and to create playing time for Chapman, veteran infielder Trevor Plouffe paid the price, getting designated for assignment on Thursday afternoon.
Plouffe, 31, signed with Oakland in January after getting non-tendered by the Twins, the only other team he had ever known, last November. He signed a one-year deal worth $5.25 million and was always viewed as a short-term solution, with Chapman and second-year slugger Ryon Healy representing the future at the hot corner for Oakland, but it still would’ve been difficult to anyone to predict that his tenure with the A’s would be this short.
In 58 games this season, Plouffe hit .214/.276/.357 with seven homers in 199 plate appearances. He had been relegated to the bench for the past four games, with Healy serving as the starting third baseman for each of those contests.
The A’s decision to part ways with Plouffe is just one portion of a larger-scale shakeup that Oakland has been conducting over the past week or so. With the team underperforming and manager Bob Melvin’s job presumably at risk, the A’s have begun to lean on younger players, with former All-Star catcher Stephen Vogt yielding playing time to Josh Phegley, veteran shortstop Adam Rosales giving way to rookie Chad Pinder, and outfielder Mark Canha being sent to Triple-A. Pitching coach Curt Young, who had served in that role for 13 of the last 14 seasons, was also relieved of his duties on Thursday.
Oakland now has seven days to trade or release Plouffe. It’s rather unlikely that they’ll be able to find a trade partner for him, but since Plouffe possesses a fair amount of versatility (he’s played every position besides center field, catcher, and pitcher during his eight-year career), he could be an attractive option for a contending club looking to boost its bench.