Friday, December 4, 2009

What's Not to Like About the Marco Scutaro Signing?

The Marco Scutaro to the Red Sox deal seemed destined to happen from the start. Marco Scutaro was the best shortstop on the free agent market and the Red Sox needed a reliable shortstop in the short term now that they have soured somewhat on Jed Lowrie. Late last night, reports came down that the Red Sox and Marco Scutaro came to terms on a contract.
The Red Sox have agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent shortstop Marco Scutaro, with an option for a third year, pending a physical, according to a Red Sox source.

Scutaro apparently has satisfied Boston's concerns about his health after he worked out for the club Tuesday and the team examined his medical records.
It's difficult to fully wrap your head around this deal without knowing what the Red Sox are paying Scutaro, but I'd be very happy with this move if I was a Red Sox fan. Aside from giving up a first round pick to sign Scutaro (which they happened to gain back yesterday from the Braves), the Red Sox accomplished all these objectives:
  • signed the best shortstop on the free agent market
  • short term deal that does not block the path of Jose Iglesias
  • Quality defensive shortstop
  • High OBP
  • Can leadoff if needed
  • scores runs
  • can hit for some power and steal some bases
It's important to remember that Scutaro is coming off the best offensive season of his career, which means that there is always risk that the deal can backfire on the Red Sox if Scutaro cannot perform like an everyday shortstop. But because the Red Sox were able to limit the contract to two years, that all but eliminates the long term risk involved in this deal. And like I have said before, the Red Sox have the payroll needed to take risks like this and hope to the baseball Gods that they pan out.

As for Scutaro, I'm a little surprised that his agents weren't able to get a guaranteed third year from the Red Sox given how weak the free agent market is for shortstops. But nevertheless, this is a great situation for Scutaro, who has gone from a little known utility infielder to the starting shortstop on the Boston Red Sox. Pretty nice story there.

The Red Sox have struggled for so long to find a suitable starting shortstop. We don't know if Marco Scuatro is the answer right now, but this looks like a shrewd signing by Theo Epstein. Marco Scutaro is not a flashy player or a big name, but if he can put together two seasons comparable to his 2009 season, then Red Sox fans will be thrilled with this signing.


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