After being optioned by the Oakland Athletics, veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for either a player to be named later, or cash. For Oakland, Plouffe’s departure seemed inevitable. He has struggled so far this season, and the team likely wants to see what they have in Matt Chapman.
It’s unlikely Oakland will make the playoffs this season. They currently have a record of 31-38 and sit 15 games behind the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West. Trading Plouffe allows them to promote and develop Matt Champan, as well as frees up some cap space. If Oakland wasn’t able to find a trade partner, they would have been stuck paying the rest of his salary, so fans should be happy the team found a trade partner because this trade allows Oakland to build towards the future.
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a relatively unimpressive season thus far, sitting 3.5 games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East with a record of 37-35. Tampa came into this season with high expectations, but due to numerous injuries, the Rays have been unable to break the .500 rut they find themselves in.
At this point in the season, it seems likely the Rays would be sellers not buyers. With all of the injuries the team has accumulated, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if they decided to move one from the expiring veteran contraction the team and bolster their farm system. After the trade for Trevor Plouffe, however, it doesn’t seem that this will be the case.
By no means was acquiring Plouffe a season saving move for the Rays. His mediocre .214 batting average and 58 strikeouts led to his demotion with the A’s. This transaction is a low risk move made out of desperation. With Matt Duffy, Brad Miller, and Rickie Weeks out indefinitely, Tampa needed help in the infield. Acquiring Plouffe gives the team an experienced player who can serve as a utility player in the infield.
The addition of Plouffe won’t be the defining moment of the Rays’ season, but he will provide the team with solid depth. His stats have declined the past few seasons, and he has only started over 150 games once in his career. Transitioning to a limited role could benefit Plouffe, improving his overall numbers.
Tampa is only liable for $1 million of his $5 million contract, so this is a low cost move for the team. At the very least, Plouffe adds a veteran presence to a young lineup. If he is able to improve his average and on-base percentage, Tampa will have added solid depth to a depleted roster.
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