Daily Distractions: Nick Punto signs with the Oakland A’s.

Nick Punto

Nick Punto’s new contract will nearly double his $1.5 million salary from 2013. (Getty Images)

Nick Punto did enough in his brief time as a Dodger to remind fans why he was included in the trade for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. And that was enough.

Punto signed with the Oakland A’s on Wednesday. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, the contract pays $2.75 million in 2014 with a $2.75 million vesting option for 2015 based on time spent on the active roster, or a $250,000 buyout.

Primarily a pinch-hitter, defensive subsitute, and shortstop during Hanley Ramirez‘s multiple absences in 2013, Punto batted .255/.328/.327 as a Dodger. He appeared in six playoff games, going 2-for-6 with a double, and led the Dodgers in headfirst slides and shredded jerseys after walk-off victories. He was the team’s nominee for the annual Heart and Hustle Award.

Defensively, Punto was the Dodgers’ best shortstop, and an adequate fill-in at third base. The A’s have recently turned versatile platooners like Jed Lowrie, Eric Sogard, Brandon Moss and others into productive contributors as dictated by matchups, and are likely to do the same with Punto.


Some bullet points for a World Kindness Day:

• The National League Cy Young Award announcement will come shortly after 3 p.m. this afternoon on MLB Network.

• There was this rumor — again, just a rumor — to start our day:

Reported yesterday in the Washington Post, the Dodgers officially announced the hiring of Roy Clark to be a national crosschecker, helping to scout amateur talent throughout the country and evaluate the club’s current minor leaguers. Paul Fryer and John Green were the Dodgers’ national crosscheckers last year; both reported to Amateur Scouting director Logan White and will return in 2014.

• Fun fact about Clark: He played four years of minor-league ball as an infielder in the Seattle Mariners organization. Among his teammates: Toronto Blue Jays scout (and former Montreal Expos general manager) Jim Beattie, former Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair, and San Diego Padres manager Bud Black.

• Fun fact about Clark, Part II:

From the Associated Press: “Under the new (replay) system being contemplated, virtually all calls other than balls and strikes potentially would be subject to review by video in New York. It has not been determined whether umpires will be the people reviewing the calls, the baseball official said.”

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Dodgers scout Bill Mueller is a candidate to become the Cubs’ hitting coach.

• Alexander Guerrero went 3 for 3 with a home run in the Dominican Winter League last night.

Here’s a rundown of The Week in Dodgers Prospects

• It’s hard to believe the Atlanta Braves’ move to the suburbs doesn’t affect the Dodgers’ future at Dodger Stadium — or the future leverage of 29 other clubs — after reading this piece in SportsOnEarth.com.

Wes Parker won six Gold Gloves as the Dodgers’ first baseman from 1967-72, and had a glorious combined skill set of walking and hitting doubles. He also acted a fair amount in retirement. Parker turns 74 today.

• Writes MLB.com’s resident scout guru Bernie Pleskoff: “I do not believe the Dodgers will be as big in the free agent market as one might imagine. They may pursue a pitcher, but for the most part, they have a fairly set club if they fill their second base position in the international market as is being discussed.”

• ICYMI: The Dodgers’ extended their streak of seasons without a Sporting News Executive of the Year to 25. Ben Cherington won the award yesterday, thanks in part to the Dodgers taking about $261.7 million worth of contracts off the Boston Red Sox’s books.

• A couple months ago I went to an Art Walk-type thing in Highland Park, surrounded by hipsters. Had a good time, but I couldn’t escape the fact that every gallery was blasting Grizzly Bear, which made the idea of blasting Grizzly Bear on a baseball blog seem ridiculously pretentious. I don’t care. Here’s a new remix of “Speak in Rounds”:

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