A’s Ink Nick Punto
The A’s signed Nick Punto today to a one-year contract worth $2.75M that includes a vesting option for 2015 also worth $2.75M. The option is really complicated so I am just going to quote Susan Slusser’s report from the San Francisco Chronicle where she explains,
“[Punto’s] 2015 option for the same amount vests in complicated fashion, all centered around days on the active roster. Some specific injuries would count for more days, some less. The short explanation: if Punto spends less than 30 days on the DL next year, his option for 2015 kicks in. It also could vest with more days on the DL, depending on the reasons. He did not land on the DL at any point last season, but has 11 DL stays in his career, including three in 2011.”
While there are thoughts that this move might portend some truth to the Jed Lowrie to St. Louis rumors, the A’s insist it isn’t the case and I frankly believe them. Punto is uber-versatile with 358 career games at third, 356 at second base, 320 at shortstop, 11 in the outfield, and five at first base. This is really useful for teams with playoff aspirations as the A’s proved 2012 was not a fluke with their second straight division crown. In 2013 with the NL West champion Dodgers, Punto hit .255/.328/.327 with a .296 wOBA and 90 wRC+, a plus defender helped him reach 1.9 WAR making his value last year $9.3M. While Punto is aging, he will be 36 for the 2014 season, he has been worth at least $2M every year since 2004 and over $2.75M every year save three (2004, 2007 and 2012) in that period. Punto provides a great insurance plan at numerous positions for the A’s in 2014 and also gives Oakland more options. While people will argue his production doesn’t justify offsetting Eric Sogard who also has shown some versatility, I think there is a great deal of utility in having a veteran on a young club and Punto provides that as well. This is a small signing, but I think that this is a solid one for Billy Beane and the A’s.