The A’s have seemingly wasted no time in adding to their roster as they ramp up for the 2014 season, signing utility infielder Nick Punto on Wednesday to add to their teeming stockpile of utility infielders.
Susan Slusser of the Chronicle is saying he’ll make $3 million next season with an option for 2015. More from her:
“Nick plays everywhere and plays everywhere well,” assistant GM David Forst said. “His versatility fits in very well with what we’ve been doing the last few years.”
Punto, 36, plays second base, third base and shortstop well, he’s a switch hitter, and as Forst noted, Punto has played for several playoff teams, including the Dodgers this year.
It’s an interesting signing if you want to lend any credibility to the rumors that the Cardinals, looking to upgrade at shortstop because LOL Pete Kozma, are kicking the tires on a possible trade for Jed Lowrie, who was one of the A’s most consistent and reliable players on offense last season (operative word: “offense”).
Everybody chill out. The A’s are not replacing Jed Lowrie with Nick Punto, says guy who works for the A’s:
His acquisition does not lend any credence to the rumors that the A’s might send shortstop Jed Lowrie to the Cardinals; Punto is not an everyday shortstop, and Forst told me, “This has nothing to do with Jed. Jed is our starting shortstop.”
Oh, well that settles it.
Yeah, right. I’ll take the word of a guy who works in the A’s front office if he’s talking about something that the team couldn’t potentially gain from directly.
Assuming, though, that Lowrie will remain on the A’s, Slusser posits Punto could be a replacement for Alberto Callaspo, who makes a little over $1 million more in salary next season. Punto, who also bats switch, is a better defensive player and hit lefties better last season, which is what Callaspo is relied on in the second base platoon with Harry Potter stunt double Eric Sogard.
So we’ll see what happens. A reminder: it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. We’re not even to Winter Meetings. I don’t even think Mike Napoli has gotten over his hangover from his shirtless post-World Series drinking binge yet. Point being, there’s a lot of offseason left for Billy Beane to clown other GM’s. A lot can happen between now and when pitchers and catchers report. Remember, the Lowrie deal happened late in the last offseason. I would not doubt it if these A’s trades over the years have spawned without any warning because Beane just gets bored in his office some days.
My guess: Lowrie goes to a desperate Cards team after they fail at acquiring Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies (because when has Billy Beane ever balked at a good deal?), and the A’s ship Brett Anderson for an under-the-radar, trusted, veteran-type shortstop who keeps the position warm until Addison Russell is ready to take over everyday some time in the next two years.