Will slick fielding utility infielder Nick Punto be making his second tour of duty with the Phils in '09?
Versatility- Plug him in at nearly any position on the diamond and he'll make ESPN's Web Gems. 2nd, SS, and 3rd are the positions he's accustomed to, but he's played a bit of outfield too. While Utley is out with his hip, and Feliz probably needing games off for his back, Punto would be a fine defensive replacement. Adding to his versatility is the fact that he's a switch hitter.
Speed- Punto has swiped 13+ bases in each of the last 4 seasons, along with collecting 19 triples.
Price- Last season in Minnesota, Punto pulled in 2.4 million. He's an excellent fielder that can play multiple positions, but the Phils already have a cheaper version of him in Eric Bruntlett (very similar offensively and defensively).
Hitting- Nick has posted a batting average above .284 in 2 out of the last 3 seasons, but sandwiched in between those solid batting averages was a stinker of a season where he only hit .210. His lifetime average is .252, with minimal on base skills and power, evident by the low .651 OPS (Bruntlett- .240 avg/.659 OPS).
When Punto was traded away in 2003 I was not upset. If he's not signed in 2008/2009 I won't be upset either. In fact, if he is signed, I'll be confused, because as mentioned above we already have a cheaper version of him with Eric Bruntlett and minor leaguer Jason Donald is foaming at the mouth for the opportunity to fill Utley's void for a month or two. Therefore, I say "pass" on Nick Punto.
*Phillies must decided whether to offer arbitration to their two big free agents (Moyer and Burrell). Each is a Type A free agent, meaning if offered arbitration and they signed elsewhere the Phils would get compensatory draft picks.
*Relief pitcher Chad Durbin was interviewed by the fictional Jimmy Scott over at High & Tight.
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