Last week the A’s notably signed utility infielder Nick Punto to a $2.75 million contract with a vesting option for 2015 at the same price. The versatile Punto can play second base, third base, and the outfield. The deal itself is a low risk high reward signing especially if Punto continues to produce at his career norms. However, a growing concern has enveloped A’s fans in the Bay Area. With this signing what happens to the A’s now crowded infield? Here are a few different scenarios that could play out (including some A’s fans may not want to hear).
Trade/DFA/Option/Outright Eric Sogard. Sogard had his best season as a big leaguer last season. He had one prolonged hot streak before cooling down before the end of the season. His defense was above average as always, yet not overwhelmingly good. With the type of season he had the A’s would no doubt want to keep him in some capacity, but his value is at the highest point it has ever been. This makes an interesting case for the A’s. Regardless, do not expect to see Sogard with the team next season barring something drastic or unforeseen.
Trade Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo came over to the A’s from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim late last season in a trade that sent prospect Grant Green to the Angels. Callaspo played well offensively. He showed he was capable to hit anywhere in the lineup and proved that he was a great late game pinch hitter. His value has not really lowered in the couple of months since coming over therefore the A’s could flip him for near the same value as Green.
Trade Jed Lowrie. Lowrie was arguably the second best player for the AL West champion A’s last season. He was the most consistent bat in the A’s lineup besides Josh Donaldson. His defense was shaky; something that comes with the value of offense. The A’s gave up a lot of Lowrie, but with the season that Lowrie had parallel with a full healthy season Lowrie’s value has risen. With a small shortstop market the A’s could pull the trigger on a Lowrie trade and replenish a quietly diminishing minor league system. This is more possibly considering how well Addison Russell has played and moved up through the system.
Trade Josh Donaldson. Donaldson’s value is arguably the highest on the A’s outside of Jarrod Parker and Sonny Gray. He had a breakout season in 2012. Last season he proved he was here to stay. With one of the best offensive seasons the A’s have seen in two decades Donaldson competed for an MVP award, a Silver Slugger Award, A Rawlings Gold Glove Award, and an All Star Game nod he left empty-handed. With a couple more seasons under arbitration, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Miles Head, and others in the Minor Leagues, and Donaldson’s announced desire to sign a long term deal the A’s are in the driver seat if they want to slip their star player for multiple young ones. A’s fans would yet again be crushed, but this cannot be discounted until opening day next season.