Minneapolis — Third baseman Trevor Plouffe and the Minnesota Twins have agreed to a one-year, $7.25 million contract to avoid arbitration.
Plouffe gets a raise of $2.45 million under Monday’s agreement. He hit .244 last season with 22 homers and a career-high 86 RBIs. He also set career bests in hits (140), runs (74) and games (152), solidifying himself in the middle of the Twins order.
The settlement was $200,000 below the midpoint between the $7.9 million Plouffe had asked for in arbitration and the $7 million Minnesota had offered.
Plouffe’s development as a solid power hitter and capable defensive third baseman led the Twins to move prized prospect Miguel Sano to the outfield. Sano came up through the minors as a third baseman and mostly served as a DH in his 80 games with the Twins last year.
Richards gets $6.4M
The Angels have avoided arbitration with right-hander Garrett Richards, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.425 million for the upcoming season.
Richards went 15-12 with a 3.65 ERA last season for the Angels. He also shined in his first year as a regular big league starter in 2014, going 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA before a season-ending knee injury.
Richards. who made $3.2 million last season, could be the Angels’ Opening Day starter.
Around the horn
Outfielder Charlie Blackmon and the Rockies avoided arbitration when they agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Blackmon made $517,500 last year, when he hit .287 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs mostly from the leadoff spot. He set career highs in doubles (31), triples (nine), stolen bases (43), runs (93) and games (157).
... First baseman Lucas Duda ($6.725M) and suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia ($2.47M) have agreed to one-year contracts with the New York Mets and avoided salary arbitration.
... Closer Shawn Tolleson (35 saves, 37 chances in 2014) and the Rangers have agreed to a one-year contract worth $3,275,000, avoiding salary arbitration. Eligible for arbitration for the first time, Tolleson, 27, got a raise of more than $2.75 million.
... Baseball’s strike zone could be getting a slight lift. MLB is studying whether to raise the bottom of the strike zone from the hollow beneath the kneecap back to the top of the kneecap.
“I’m not in a position to predict whether it’s going to happen or not,” Rob Manfred said on his anniversary as baseball commissioner. “I think that the interest in the topic is really driven by the fact that if you look over time there has been a movement down of the strike zone, largely as a result of the way we evaluate the strike zone with umpires.”
The strike zone extended to the top of the kneecap through the 1995 season, then was dropped to its current level.
... Mike Piazza’s No. 31 will be retired by the Mets on July 30 before a game against the Rockies, part of the weekend celebrating the catcher, who will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame on July 24.
... The Angels claimed infielder Ronald Torreyes off waivers from the Yankees and designated for assignment left-hander Bobby La Fromboise.
... The Astros say minor league pitcher Jose Rosario was killed in a motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic. He was 20.