Veteran utility infielder Nick Punto has decided to call it a career after playing 14 Major League Baseball seasons with six teams.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed Punto's decision to walk away after he sat out the 2015 season.
Punto last played for the Oakland Athletics in 2014, appearing in 73 games and hitting .207/.296/.293. He did play average defense at multiple positions, with FanGraphs crediting him with one defensive run saved.
The 38-year-old was not a prodigious hitter throughout his career, but he provided a glorious moment with a 444-foot blast against Toronto in June 2012, via MLB.com:
While not a household name during his playing days, Punto was a player that every team loved to have on the 25-man roster. It's why he managed to stick around for 14 seasons with the A's, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports summed up Punto's career perfectly:
Nick Punto is, without question, a first ballot Hall of Scrappy Utility Guy Types Who Play Way Longer Than You Ever Thought They Would’ve-Er— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) February 18, 2016
Being a utility man isn't glamorous, largely because you are relegated to the bench more often than not, but Punto was always in demand because of his ability to play shortstop, third base and second base.
Punto played in the postseason five times, winning a World Series with the Cardinals in 2011. He never loaded up the stat sheets, but his contributions to MLB for 14 years should not be underestimated. You don't play at that level for that long by accident.