Nick Punto, who signed a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks in January, has decided to sit out the season according to Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona. He hasn’t officially retired, but at age 37 and considering he was already looking like a fairly marginal big leaguer the odds would be stacked against Punto playing again.
Punto signed a two-year deal with the A’s last offseason and hit .207 with two homers and a .589 OPS in 73 games as a utility man, at which point Oakland released him and ate the remaining $2.75 million on his contract.
A speedy, slick-fielding, light-hitting infielder, Punto played parts of 14 seasons in the majors and earned nearly $25 million despite topping a .700 OPS just three times. His best year came in 2006 for the Twins, when he took over as the starting third baseman and hit .290 with a .352 on-base percentage in 135 games.
If he’s indeed finished, Punto retires as MLB’s all-time leader in head-first slides into first base and exaggerated claps after head-first slides into first base.
Released by the A’s last month, veteran utility infielder Nick Punto has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that it includes an invitation to spring training.
Oakland cut Punto despite owing him $2.75 million for 2015, which was odd considering he had a pretty typical season in 2014 and the A’s deemed him worthy of a two-year deal last offseason.
He figures to be a part-timer in Arizona, backing up all over the infield at age 37, although the Diamondbacks already have a similar player in Cliff Pennington to fill that role (barring, say, an Aaron Hill trade).
Last offseason the A’s signed career-long utility infielder Nick Punto to a two-year, $5.5 million contract at age 36. He went on to play more or less exactly like you’d expect him to play, posting a .589 OPS in a part-time role, yet today the A’s released him.
Oakland needed the 40-man roster space, but in letting Punto go they’ll eat $2.75 million. He figures to latch on somewhere as a minimum-salaried bench player and it’s unclear why the A’s ever needed to give him a multi-year commitment in the first place.