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Rangers sign Trevor Plouffe to minor-league deal

The veteran infielder is the latest addition to a crowded competition for spots on the Rangers’ bench.

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Rangers have signed veteran infielder Trevor Plouffe to a minor-league deal, as MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand first reported on Monday. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported that the two sides were close to a deal on Monday afternoon.

Plouffe, 31, had a rough season in 2017, posting a combined .198/.272/.318 slash line with nine homers in 313 plate appearances between the Athletics and Rays. After going into the season as Oakland’s starting third baseman, Plouffe was designated for assignment by the A’s in early June. He struggled in a utility role after being acquired by Tampa and was designated for assignment again in late August before ultimately rejoining the Rays after rosters expanded in September.

Though he struggled at the plate as a bench player last season, Plouffe has the versatility necessary to provide value off the bench. While the vast majority of his action has come at third base, he’s played every position across the infield as well as both corner outfield spots through the course of his eight-year major-league career. He got time at first, second, and third in 2017.

Plouffe joins a competition for spots on Texas’ bench that is already quite crowded. Utility man Drew Robinson, who posted a .753 OPS with six homers in 121 plate appearances as a rookie last season, would seem to be the favorite to land a backup job behind the Rangers’ projected starting infield of Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus, and Adrian Beltre. However, this will also presumably be the last chance for former top prospect Jurickson Profar to establish himself as a big-league regular in Texas, as the 24-year-old is out of options. Plouffe would join Hanser Alberto, who was non-tendered and re-signed to a minor-league deal in December after spending parts of two seasons with the Rangers, and eight-year veteran Darwin Barney as a non-roster invitee looking to win a big-league job with an impressive spring training.