It isn’t a rumor that the Oakland Athletics signed former Los Angeles Dodgers backup shortstop Nick Punto. That is a fact and it is a great move by the Athletics. What is still in the rumor category is a possible deal between the Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals that could move Jed Lowrie to the Cards. Such a deal would be good for both sides but before now it would have left a potentially huge hole at shortstop if young prospect Addison Russell isn’t ready to take the job out of spring training. With the signing of Punto the door is wide open for a Lowrie trade.
Obviously the official word is that the signing of Punto has nothing to do with Lowrie at all and they claim that Lowrie is still the starting shortstop. Sure he is, for now. I like a lot of things about Lowrie and he certainly fits the mold for the kind of player the A’s like to have in that he comes at a low cost and produces a fairly high WAR. Guess what, so does Punto. As a matter of fact the only real difference between the two is that Punto is a few years older.
It is remotely possible that Lowrie could not be readied for a potential trade to St. Louis but such a great signing by the A’s suggests that he probably will be. At the very least their roster is more ready now in case the trade were to happen. With the addition of Punto, Russell wouldn’t need to be ready for an everyday job out of spring training. Punto could handle the job for the balance of this season and next if he had to. When Russell is ready to go, Punto makes a great asset off of the bench. It’s an Athletics kind of deal. What can I say? They’re the best at this offseason stuff.