Athletics sign Nick Punto

Stephen Dunn

The A's fill a need but create further questions.

The Oakland Athletics have signed infielder Nick Punto to a 1-year deal with a vesting option, the team announced Wednesday. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle elaborate on the deal:

With Punto (a 36 year-old second baseman/shortstop/third baseman) in the fold, what will the A's do with Jed Lowrie? Maybe he's a movable asset now? NOPE. Not yet:

Our friends at Athletics Nation weigh in on the deal and what it means:

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 $9 million in 2014.  If Callaspo is moved, the A's would have another $6 million to spend. That $6 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.

What do you think -- smart move by the A's?

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