UPDATE: According to Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona, infielder Nick Punto has informed the Diamondbacks that he will sit out the 2015 season and won’t report to spring training. Jackson also notes that Punto is not officially retiring.
JANUARY 16TH: The Arizona Diamondbacks have reached an agreement with veteran infielder Nick Punto on a minor-league deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, according to multiple reports.
nick punto agrees to deal with #diamondbacks
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 7, 2015
The 37-year-old infielder was previously released by the Oakland Athletics earlier this offseason, as the team is currently in the rebuilding stages, trading away top players like Josh Donaldson, so far. Punto is due to be paid $2.75 million next season in part to his vesting option that was exercised by the Athletics. This will be in addition to the salary the Diamondbacks will pay him, which will be the major-league minimum of $507,500 if he makes the big league squad out of spring training, or a prorated portion of that if he is added after the start of the season.
In 73 games played with the Athletics last season, Punto slashed .207/.296/.293 with two home runs and 14 runs batted in over 224 plate appearances. Even with his lack of production, he contributed on the defensive side, which sported an otherwise poor Athletics’ infield.
Punto will provide much needed help to the Diamondbacks’ infield in 2015. The infield currently sports Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Yasmany Tomas and Chris Owings. Owings has been rehabbing from shoulder surgery, but is expected to be ready for Opening Day. If he is not ready to go, Arizona could slide either Cliff Pennington, Nick Ahmed or Punto into the shortstop position.