Punto is a switch-hitting infielder who has seen time over the course of his career at third base, shortstop and second base. His name was tossed around on AN when the A's were searching for an infield upgrade last season.
What can you expect from Punto? Well, over the course of his career he has been a very reliable defensive infielder, playing almost equal time at third, short and second. The advanced numbers say he is solid at all three positions, with third base as his forte. As a switch-hitter, he was better from the right side in 2013 with a wRC+ of 109. One thing you shouldn't expect from Punto is power. He hit four home runs in 2005 and has never hit more than two in any other season in his career.
Punto is not considered an everyday SS, but could this free #Athletics up to trade Lowrie should St. Louis overwhelm them with offer?— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 13, 2013
When I asked about Punto vs. Callaspo, Forst said it's only November; the #Athletics are "in the mode of finding some players who can play."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 13, 2013
All signs point to Alberto Callaspo being shipped in the offseason, but who knows? It's also possible, albeit a slim possibility, that the A's trade Punto before he ever suits up for the team. It all depends on what offers come along.
It's safe to assume the A's will be moving at least one middle infielder between now and Opening Day 2014. They currently have Jed Lowrie, Eric Sogard and Alberto Callaspo to go with Punto while Jemile Weeks, Andy Parrino and Hiroyuki Nakajima are all projected to start 2014 in triple-A.
This could be a question of Punto vs. Callaspo. According to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports, the A's will pay Punto $2.75 million in 2014, and the option for 2015 would also cost $2.75 million. Callaspo is owed almost $5 million in 2014. If Callaspo is moved, the A's would have another $2 million to spend. That $2 million could be the difference between keeping Bartolo Colon or letting him walk. While Punto is a downgrade at the plate compared to Hot Dog, he is a better defensive player and the price tags seem to be playing a big part in this deal.
I've confirmed the Nick Punto deal is $3 million guaranteed for 2014, including $250K buyout if the vesting option turns into club option.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 13, 2013
Ok, he's just about $2 million cheaper than Callaspo.