12:10pm: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that it’s a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp (Twitter link).
11:49am: The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with veteran utilityman Nick Punto, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). He is represented by agent Jeff Caulfield.
Punto, who turned 37 in November, hit just .207/.296/.293 in 224 plate appearances for the Athletics last season after signing a one-year, $2.75MM contract. Nonetheless, Punto received enough playing time in Oakland and stayed healthy enough that he had a $2.75MM option vest for the 2015 season. However, Oakland ultimately elected to release Punto in December when they needed to clear a 40-man roster spot. He’ll still be paid the $2.75MM from the A’s, but it’s unclear at this time if his contract is a Major League or minor legaue deal.
Though Punto has never hit much outside of a solid 2006 season with Minnesota and a small sample of 166 plate appearances with the 2011 Cardinals, he’s historically been a very capable defender at second base, third base and shortstop. His defense has slipped a bit as he’s aged, but the switch-hitter is likely still capable of backing up the D-Backs at three infield spots. Of course, the same could be said about the much younger Cliff Pennington. It’s possible that the D-Backs will look to flip Pennington and his $3.275MM salary to a team with an infield need, but Punto could also merely be a depth piece that will come to camp and compete for a job.