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Oakland A's Notes: Santiago Casilla, Trevor Plouffe deals official

This week the Oakland A's officially announced the signing of two major league free agents: infielder Trevor Plouffe and reliever Santiago Casilla. The A's also announced two additional minor league free agent signings.

A's officially sign Plouffe, Casilla

The Oakland A's officially inked major league free agents Trevor Plouffe and Santiago Casilla this week. Plouffe signed a one-year deal and he is expected to take over as the A's everyday third baseman for the 2017 season. Casilla joins an experienced A's bullpen that features several established closers already. To make room for Plouffe and Casilla on the 40-man roster, the A's designated RHP Zach Neal and OF Brett Eibner for assignment. Both could remain in the organization if they clear waivers.

Plouffe had spent his entire career with the Minnesota Twins before joining the A's this off-season. The California native was a first-round pick in 2004 out of Crespi Carmelite HS in Southern California. He is a career .247/.308/.420 hitter. Plouffe struggled with injuries last season, playing in only 84 games, his lowest games played total since his rookie season in 2011. Plouffe hit 12 homers for the Twins last season but hit 22 in 152 games for Minnesota in 2015. He is a career .233 hitter away from the Twins' home park and a career .184 hitter in 76 at-bats at the Coliseum.

Casilla returns to the A's on a two-year deal after spending seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He suffered a number of high-profile blown saves last season with San Francisco, but still saved 31 games and struck-out 65 in 58 innings. Casilla saved 38 games in 2015 and has 127 career saves. He joins Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and John Axford as relievers in the A's bullpen with significant experience closing big league games.

Casilla originally signed with the A's in 2000 as an international amateur free agent. Known at the time as Jairo Garcia, the right-hander was a fairly anonymous prospect in the A's system before a breakout 2004 season that saw him rise from Low-A Kane County to the big leagues in one season. He struck-out 102 in 61.2 innings in the minor leagues that season. The next off-season he revealed that his real name was Santiago Casilla and that he was two years older than previously thought.

Casilla pitched parts of four seasons with the A's before being let go at the end of the 2009 season. In those four years, he had a 5.11 ERA in 160.1 innings. With the Giants, Casilla had a career re-awakening. He was a significant part of all three of their World Series title runs and posted a 2.42 ERA in 394.2 innings over seven seasons. In 19.2 post-season innings, Casilla allowed just two earned runs and he saved four games.

Neal made his major-league debut with the A's last season, posting a 4.24 ERA in 70 innings for the A's. He has been in the A's system for four years, joining Oakland as a minor league free agent from the Marlins at the start of the 2014 season. He has a career 3.72 ERA in 824 minor league innings. His career BB/9 in the minors is 1.8 and he walked just six in the big leagues.

Eibner was acquired by the A's for Billy Burns during the season. The former Kansas City Royals' prospect appeared in 44 games with the A's last season, hitting .165 with three homers in 123 at-bats. He also appeared in 26 games for the Royals, hitting .231 with 3 homers during that stretch. Eibner is a career .244/.337/.440 hitter in the minor leagues.

De Aza and Detwiler join on minor league deals

The A's also announced the signing of veterans Alejandro De Aza and Ross Detwiler to minor league deals. Both will be non-roster invitees to big league camp.

De Aza has nine years and 810 games of major-league experience. He is a career .261/.328/.398 hitter in 2,808 major league at-bats. He spent 2016 with the New York Mets and hit .205 with 6 homers in 130 games for the Mets. His best season came in 2012 with the Chicago White Sox, when he hit .281/.349/.410 with nine homers and 26 stolen bases in 131 games. He is 32 years old.

Detwiler remains with the A's after joining the organization through a trade with the Cleveland Indians midway through the 2016 season. The lefty threw 44 innings for the A's after the trade, posting a 6.14 ERA. He also made four appearances for the Nashville Sounds. Detwiler has a career 4.36 ERA in 578 major league innings. He has experience both in the starting rotation and the bullpen.

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