Marco Scutaro Move Could Be Start of Big Hot Stove Season for Red Sox

by NESN Staff

December 4, 2009

Marco Scutaro Move Could Be Start of Big Hot Stove Season for Red Sox Red Sox Nation can scratch Hanley Ramirez off the Christmas wish list.

Marco Scutaro is coming to Boston to play shortstop.

The move is less than 24 hours old, and it?s already generating heated debate. Here are some excerpts of the fan reaction:

Love it

This is a good move. Even if he only hits .260, that will still be a marked upgrade, plus he is an excellent defender.

Good signing. Best of the crop of Crosby, N.Green, K.Green, etc.

–gerald troy

Loathe it

Bad bad bad. This stinks. This is one cheap low class move. We now have no true chance to make it to the W.S.

This is a horrible signing. Give him a chance? He's 34!
–Joe B.

Just another band-aid, one year and done. Might as well bring back Nomar at this rate.

On the fence

Well it could be worse , at least its something to fill the void till the phenom from cuba is ready or anyone else that's in the system. But I would expect if Jed is ready in spring training this could turn out to be a battle for the starting SS position till one or the other wins out, and the way Tito treats his players i would venture to say if Lowrie shows up healthy he will have the inside track.


Did you expect anything less? Red Sox decisions are scrutinized more than U.S. presidential approval ratings.

But before declaring the Scutaro signing a success or failure, let?s remember it?s only December. Any proclamation now is pure speculation.

These are the facts.

Scutaro is coming off a career year.

He missed the last two weeks of the 2009 season with plantar fasciitis troubles on his right foot.

He ranked third in on-base percentage among American League shortstops last season.

He has a good glove in the field (.981 career fielding percentage) and has played every position on the diamond except pitcher, catcher and center field — though he?s spent the majority of his time at either second or short.

The Red Sox? loss of a draft pick to the Blue Jays (either a first-rounder or second-rounder, as compensation for signing the Type A free agent) is offset by the first-round pick Boston gets from the Braves for signing Billy Wagner.

Scutaro won?t turn 35 until Oct. 30, 2010.

He is a native of Venezuela.

His two-year contract with the Red Sox is for $5 million in 2010, $5 million in 2011, with a mutual option in 2012 ($6 million team option, $3 million player option, with a $1.5 million buyout). It also includes a $1 million signing bonus. That means the deal is worth $12.5 million in guaranteed money. If Scutaro picks up the option, it's $14 million over three years. If the Red Sox pick up the option, it's $17 million over three years.

That?s a reasonable deal for an eight-year veteran who could be on the upswing. Scutaro still has a lot of tread on his tires. He?s only played 840 games in the Show and could be a late bloomer, with his best years ahead.

The cynics will say that he?s peaked, but the optimists can look at his 2009 season (.282 average, 12 home runs, 60 RBIs, 100 runs, .379 OBP, 90 walks and 14 stolen bases) as a sign of promise.

His versatility also could come in handy for manager Terry Francona, and adding another Spanish-speaking player won?t be bad for clubhouse chemistry, either. It didn?t hurt when Victor Martinez or Alex Gonzalez arrived last summer. David Ortiz hit 13 home runs and drove in 39 runs after the Red Sox acquired Martinez on July 31.

Players enjoy having teammates who speak their native language. It makes them feel at home, and players perform better when they are comfortable. The better they play, the more confidence they gain. And confidence can make a team dangerous.

Scutaro is not a huge departure from Gonzalez, who also happens to be a Venezuelan shortstop. The Red Sox don?t lose much, if anything, in the defense department, and they gain a hitter with a little pop and a lot of patience who knows how to get on base and manufacture runs.

Don?t worry about Scutaro?s age. Omar Vizquel is still going strong at 42, and Raul Ibanez helped the Phillies get to the World Series at 37. The way players take care of their bodies — and we?re just talking about good, old-fashioned hard work, conditioning and clean training methods — more and more players are able to contribute into their late 30s and early 40s. Just as people are living longer, athletes are playing longer. And playing better at later stages.

Scutaro has a lot of upside. Most importantly, the Red Sox didn?t have to give up any prospects to get him. That leaves Theo Epstein and company with a full farm system to put together a blockbuster package for a power bat. With the winter meetings just around the corner, an even bigger move could be brewing.

Keep that in mind when evaluating the Scutaro signing. It could be the start of something special for the Red Sox.

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