Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Punto Returns to the Fold

In a move that is undoubtedly making many Twins fans shudder in fear of what's to come in 2009, the Twins today brought Nick Punto back under a two-year, $8.5 million deal with an option for 2011. The fact that Punto is back on the roster is bad enough for many of you, but the fact that the Twins are talking about him like he's the presumptive starting shortstop for 2009 is even worse.

Now, I can't deny that Punto has had some miserable performances with the Twins. His 2007 season (and his .210 batting average) won't soon be forgotten. But let me point out that Punto hit .284 last year with a 726 OPS (admittedly not great, but not deadly). He stole 16 bases. His Range Factor at shortstop (4.92) and his zone rating at shortstop (.865) both would have led the league at that position if he had been a regular starter. In other words, Punto remains an outstanding defensive shortstop, he has speed, and two out of the last three years he's hit at least .284. I am not arguing that the man is a Hall of Famer, or even that he'd be my first choice to play the position. What I am saying is that, by my reckoning, he's worth $4 million and is a far better choice to start at shortstop than Adam Everett ever was.

I know many of you wanted the Twins to make a splash by landing a third baseman or a different shortstop at the Winter Meetings. I also know that Nick Punto doesn't qualify for most of you as a big deal signing (and I'm really not trying to argue that he is). All I'm trying to say is that, compared to many of the free agent acquisitions the Twins have made the last few years, this one actually stands a chance of working out exactly as they expect it to.

Now, hopefully Punto doesn't go out and make me look like a complete fool by reverting to his 2007 form . . .

As for the Rule 5 Draft, I'll have some thoughts up by tomorrow morning. Rough cut: Not as painful as I'd feared, not as painless as I'd hoped.

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  • At Fri Dec 12, 02:22:00 AM , Blogger neckrolls said...

    Good analysis - I appreciate you pointing out his speed and defense, two areas that make him more valuable than a lot of the other options that were discussed over the last few weeks. If Punto turns out to be the weakest hitter in the lineup, this won't be a bad move at all.


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