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Twins 3B Plouffe becomes free agent

MINNEAPOLIS -- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, a member of the Minnesota Twins organization since they drafted him in the first round out of high school in 2004, cleared outright waivers on Friday and elected to become a free agent.

Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS - Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, a member of the Minnesota Twins organization since they drafted him in the first round out of high school in 2004, cleared outright waivers on Friday and elected to become a free agent.

Projected to earn $8.2 million in 2017, his final year of salary arbitration, Plouffe failed to draw trade interest but figures to attract plenty of suitors on the open market because of his experience, power and defensive versatility.

Plouffe, 30, is coming off an injury-marred season in which he spent three separate stints on the disabled list. He suffered an oblique strain in April, a fractured rib in late June and had another setback in his side on a swing in September.

In 723 career games with the Twins, Plouffe hit .247 with 96 home runs and a .420 slugging percentage. Last season he earned $7.25 million while hitting a career-high .260 and matching his career slugging mark, but injuries limited him to 84 games.

Drafted and developed as a shortstop, Plouffe became the Twins' everyday third baseman in 2012. He is the career leader in home runs at Target Field, which opened in 2010.

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In addition, the Twins outrighted backup catcher Juan Centeno to Triple-A Rochester and lost power-hitting outfield prospect Adam Brett Walker on waivers to his hometown Milwaukee Brewers. Walker, 25, averaged 27.5 homers over the past four seasons but also averaged 167 strikeouts in that span.

That included seasons of 195 and 202 strikeouts the past two years at the top two minor-league levels. At Triple-A Rochester last season, his strikeout rate reached a career-worst 38 percent.

The towering slugger was a third-round pick out of Jacksonville University in 2012 and was consistently rated among the Twins' top 20 prospects, but he struggled with his throwing in 2015 and was considered by some to be a designated hitter at best.

Centeno, 27, hit .261 in 176 at-bats while backing up Kurt Suzuki last season. Centeno, who has previous big-league experience with the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets, threw out just 14 percent of attempted base-stealers and struggled with pitch framing and blocking, as well.

The Twins filled six of their seven open spots on the 40-man roster in advance of the Dec. 8 Rule 5 draft. Added to the roster were Triple-A catcher Mitch Garver, outfielders Daniel Palka and Zack Granite; shortstop Engelb Vielma and right-handers Fernando Romero and Felix Jorge.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA TWINSBASEBALL
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