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If Trevor Plouffe bounces back, he could be an option at third base

The former Twins slugger is coming off the worst season of his career.

Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Trevor Plouffe didn’t give the Athletics too much production after they signed him as a free agent last January. Coming off of a 2016 campaign that was shortened by oblique injuries, Plouffe was supposed to help Oakland out at third base, but instead he hit just .214/.276/.357 in 58 games. Looking to make room at the hot corner for rising prospect Matt Chapman, the Athletics shipped Plouffe to Tampa Bay in June for cash considerations.

I’d like to say that this is the part where Plouffe picked himself up by the proverbial bootstraps and turned his campaign around, but as a part-time utility infielder for the Rays, he hit even worse. It got so bad that Tampa Bay designated him for assignment in late August, only to have him pass through waivers and return to the team when rosters expanded in September.

So what can Plouffe offer the Mets? There’s a reason why two smart organizations like Tampa Bay and Oakland both took a look at him last year. If the veteran returns to his 2015 level of play, he could make for a better third base option than Asdrubal Cabrera, whom the Mets recently brought back by exercising his 2018 option.

Back in 2015, Plouffe his 22 home runs for the Twins with a .307 on-base percentage and solid defense at third base, his natural position. The year before, he hit only 14 home runs but was more productive overall with a .328 OBP and a career-high 3.5 WAR. Those two seasons represent the peak of what we can expect from Plouffe if he gets his career back on track. He’ll hit a few home runs and play good defense while not killing you with strikeouts.

Plouffe is far from the most exciting free agent target on the market. He’s 31 years old and coming off back-to-back lousy seasons. On the other hand, he’s still got the upside of an above-average third baseman, and that could make him worth a flyer for a team that needs infield help.