Thumbs Up to Scutaro

USA v Venezuela - World Baseball Classic - Tornoto Day 2
As Harold Ramis once said to Seth Rogen in Knocked Up after Seth knocked up his one night stand, "This is a good thing." It may have looked tragic at the time, but he got a beautiful daughter out of it and even got to spend the night with Katherine Heigl. Not a bad haul for a drunken mistake. The same can be said for the signing of Marco Scutaro. It wasn't quite the way we planned it (myself not included, I like Toronto import, especially given the alternatives), but it's what we have. Maybe the little guy will grow up to be a Rembrandt, maybe he'll be an alcoholic, but either way, he's ours and we need to love him. But let’s get something straight. There is a lot to like here – and signing Scutaro is like making the best of a bad situation. The nuts and bolts of Marco Scutaro are that he is an average fielding shortstop with plus offensive skills for his position. These kinds of players do not grow on trees...
USA v Venezuela - World Baseball Classic - Tornoto Day 2

As Harold Ramis once said to Seth Rogen in Knocked Up after Seth knocked up his one night stand, “This is a good thing.” It may have looked tragic at the time, but he got a beautiful daughter out of it and even got to spend the night with Katherine Heigl. Not a bad haul for a drunken mistake.

The same can be said for the signing of Marco Scutaro. It wasn’t quite the way we planned it (myself not included, I like Toronto import, especially given the alternatives), but it’s what we have. Maybe the little guy will grow up to be a Rembrandt, maybe he’ll be an alcoholic, but either way, he’s ours and we need to love him.

But let’s get something straight. There is a lot to like here – and signing Scutaro is like making the best of a bad situation.

The nuts and bolts of Marco Scutaro are that he is an average fielding shortstop with plus offensive skills for his position. These kinds of players do not grow on trees.

In terms of fielding, voices around the MLB like his chops at short, while UZR echoes the optimism, as he has been right about average over the course of his career.

Overall, there doesn’t seem to be much doubt that he can handle the shortstop position, so we can be confident in his fielding ability. But then again, the glove has never been the sticking point with Scutaro. It’s his bat that has drawn concerns from the Boston Faithful.

Scutaro really broke out at the plate this past season, posting the best offensive season of his career. Arguably the most valuable improvement was in the walks category, as his free pass totals increased from 9.8 percent in his career to 13.6 percent in ’09. That’s quite the jump. This was primarily the cause of a decrease in his swing percentage, which dropped from 40.3 percent over the course of his career to 34.5 percent in ’09.

This sustainability of his swing percentage is perhaps the shortstop’s biggest question mark, as it is difficult to say whether it will continue or revert back to his career line. While a one-year spike is somewhat concerning, his 2009 line is reflective of the excellent plate discipline he has shown throughout his career.

In addition, pitchers gave Scutaro more respect at the plate. Instead of pounding him with strikes as they have earlier in his career, they backed off a bit, delivering 51.4 percent of pitches in the zone.

If these indicators revert back to their past levels, he will still have a good walk rate, at just under 10 percent. If they do not, then the Sox could have a significant bargain. As scouts like to say, “Once it’s part of your skill set, you own it.” Prudent ball-strike recognition has always been a part of Scutaro’s package, so there is no question that he owns this ability.

His other improved indicator is his increase in fly ball percentage, from 38.2 percent on his career to 43.6 percent, which helps account for some of his home run increase. This helped to improve his slugging percentage. However, unlike many players coming off career years, he did not have a freakishly large HR/FB rate or BABIP. Scutaro’s 2009 HR/FB rate was right in line with his career marks, at 5.5 percent, meaning that he is not enjoying an increase in wall-scrapers or wind-aided home runs.

But that was about it. Other than those two indicators, not a whole lot else changed.

In fact, he has had some excellent indicators over the course of his career that point to his baseline talent. Perhaps most exciting is his ability to judge between balls and strikes. Since 2002, he has posted a combined 4.3 Z-Swing:O-Swing ratio, which is among the better tallies in the league over that time span. Last year, his O-Swing total, 12.3 percent, was second best in the league.

In addition, his contact rate is excellent, standing at 91 percent over the course of his career. These are not flukes. At the very least, we can expect Scutaro to repeat these aspects of his performance, which have also helped him to produce a .721 OPS over the course of his career.

Of anything in his 2009 line, the drop in swing percentage could be fluky, but it’s just as likely that he continues his elite selectivity. Other than that, there aren’t any of the obvious indicators that point to a fluke season, such as an inflated HR/FB rate, a sky-high BABIP, or even a walk rate that is out of line with his plate discipline indicators. He actually drew free passes at a rate that was quite close to where he was expected given his swing rate and batting eye.

If Scutaro still concerns you, take a look at his fly ball and swing percentage early next season to see if he has sustained his increase in fly balls or swing percentage. Of the two, be more concerned with the swing percentage. Scutaro hits so few home runs on flyballs that, if he loses a few points in his fly ball rate, it won’t hurt much. However, if he alters his patient approach, he could have trouble working walks. In this case, he will lose some of his newfound value.

Still, whichever side of the Scutaro argument you stand on, it is hard to argue against the fact that he was the best option available on this weak 2009 free agent market. The options were few, aging, and declining. The trade market had dried up with Arizona pursuing a 2010 winner and Milwaukee having already dealt J.J. Hardy. The Sox had no better internal alternatives with Lowrie battling injury problems and inconsistency.

What is most important about the Scutaro is the length of time he is signed for. According to Michael Silverman’s Twitter account, the deal is two-years with a mutual third year option. Assuming that the “mutual” option is of the variety that both team and player must agree for an extension, then the Scutaro signing should be declared a victory.

Under this scenario, the team will release Scutaro after two seasons if he is inadequate, while possibly extending him for a third if he has success. Considering the lack of options available on the market, the fact that Scutaro’s agent couldn’t secure a guaranteed third year is a coup for the Sox (if it is, in fact, a team-option third year). It minimizes the greatest risk of Scutaro signing, which is him reverting back to his pre-2009 form. If the shortstop is unable to produce in the role, the Sox are only committed to him for one season past 2010 or they can trade him while picking up half of his contract.

If, in the end, this deal includes only two guaranteed seasons, this is a great contract. Sox fans, it’s time to face the music: the team wasn’t going to get a better shortstop for 2010 unless they sold the farm in an overpriced trade. If they moved Pedroia to short, it may have worked, but now they were banking on the transition of not just one free agent, but both the signed free agent AND Pedroia making the defensive switch. On the free agent market, there was the poor-fielding, aging Miguel Tejada and little else. In such a weak market, the team is lucky to get what they got.

The situation is really much rosier than it appears. Scutaro isn’t as much of a one-year wonder as many think. His plate discipline indicators have been good for a number of years now, as have his contact percentage and fielding numbers. The shortstop has a great batting eye and will continue to put a bat on the ball with good fielding from the shortstop position.

Will he win the Sox a championship? No, not by any means. Will he solidify the position in 2010 and 2011? Yes. Did the Sox minimize the risk associated with signing a potential one-year wonder? Absolutely. Three years is too much for Scutaro. Two years is a very favorable, flexible conclusion for a risky shortstop with a great chance to maintain his current level of production.

In the end, he was a great player in 2009 who has a great chance to continue along with success. Given the circumstances, this is a big thumbs up on the Theo-Meter.

The Sox had no better internal alternatives with Lowrie battling injury problems and inconsistency.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Marco Scutaro

48 Responses to “Thumbs Up to Scutaro” Subscribe

  1. Sean O December 4, 2009 at 10:14 AM #

    Look, here's the thing. We always bitch and moan about not having the money to compete head-to-head with the Yankees, but it's because we make moves like this. Scutaro is a career utility guy who has barely ever had a full season under his belt, because he isn't a good baseball player. This team keeps taking my money and the money of thousands of devoted fans in New England and makes terrible acquisitions.

    2 years ago we passed on Santana ostensibly because of the contract commitment. In the time since, we've signed a broken down third baseman who has been crippled for the last 2 playoffs (post-07), some broken down NL castoffs for roughly $20m, and now a career utility guy. Instead of getting players who will produce at an elite level to help this team, we get dime-a-dozen players but pay them like superstars.

    If you cannot get elite production from a position, don't under any circumstances pay an elite amount for below-average return. Scutaro will not produce his salary over an MiLB player, and he has zero upside.

    So now we go into 2010 without production from 3b, SS, CF or DH, and only Lester as a sure thing as a starter. How on earth does this team spend $140m each year?

    • Dave L December 4, 2009 at 11:31 AM #

      If lester's the only sure thing we have as a starter, then aren't you glad we didn't trade him for Santana?
      You're only looking at the negatives, even though often the positives can outweigh the negatives. EVERY GM makes mistakes. The point is to outweigh them with good decisions. So the thing you use as an example of a bad move was actually a good one (Santana), for one. Was Victor Martinez a bad move? Billy Wagner? Jbay for Manny? I could go on and on. Also, how do you figure that we will get NO production from Mike Lowell, getting older but still hit .290 last year with 17 bombs, Scutaro, who's been talked about enough, especially by you, Ellsbury, who stole 60 plus bases this year, while hitting .301 and driving in 60 runs out of the leadoff spot, Papi who despite two of the worst months a baseball player has ever played, still ended up with 28 homers and 99 RBI's, and should end up with at least 35 bombs next year.

      • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 11:42 AM #

        Lester wasn't in the mix for Santana at the end, and we all know that. He could've been had for Ellsbury and some random prospects. I mean, Carlos Gomez, the guy who was just traded for castoff JJ Hardy?

        Lowell will fall apart in the 2nd half like he always does, and will be DOA for October should we get there. Ellsbury is a below-average CF bat with danger-worthy fielding. Papi could be great or could have a .650 OPS, considering he's deep in his 30s and is now completely inconsistent. Beckett hasn't had an acceptable postseason start since '07.

        We have major holes that aren't being addressed by signing below-average players, and giving up draft picks for the chance.

        • M-Tab December 4, 2009 at 12:39 PM #

          If we'd traded for Santana, even without Lester being in the deal (which I find impossible to imagine), you'd be whining about how Jacoby Ellsbury just stole 60 bases for Minnesota while our $20 million "ace" was on the DL during the playoffs. And you'd be whining about some overpaid free agent like Mike Cameron playing centerfield. And who else would we have given up? Lars? Masterson? Then there's no V-Mart.

          Your arguments are a mess of contradictions. The thinking in not trading for Santana was to keep cheap pre-arb prospects so that the team wouldn't have to go out and get mediocre free agents for big money to replace the young talent. The guys they kept instead of dealing for a Santana-type — Lester, Buchholz, Ellsbury, Pedroia (let's not forget the Twins originally wanted him) — are young inexpensive cornerstones, exactly the kinds of players they should build around. Yet you're killing them for not getting Santana and getting middling free agents instead.

          The only time they've resorted to signing middling free agents like Scutaro is when everything else has failed and they don't have a choice. And especially this year, who cares? They have tons of money. It's a two-year commitment. And they're better having Scutaro than not having him — what's the downside? They didn't not get Mark Teixeira because of Julio Lugo; they didn't get him because they Yankees were always going to offer more.

          Somebody has to play the position. Even Lugo played on a team that won the World Series. What's the other choice?

          • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 12:54 PM #

            What are you talking about, I can't stand Ellsbury or his 60 bags. I stand behind my decision on Santana, even with his health problems now. You do not build around a player like Ellsbury who is a defensive liability and an average-ish bat. After we didn't trade Ellsbury I was calling him Juan Pierre-light, and that comparison still isn't far off.

            We sign players like Lowell and Scutaro and Smoltz and Penny all the time instead of elite players. There is no reason why those 4 should('ve) been on this team instead of Santana and Adam Dunn.

            We signed a player with zero upside who is already below average and aging. It's utterly pointless. What is his rosiest projection, 280/.340/.410?

            At least Lugo was a sunk cost. $15.25m paid for a career .720 OPS in 2010. How do we compete with the Yankees when we aren't better at any position?

          • M-Tab December 4, 2009 at 2:35 PM #

            So you think the Sox should have traded for a $20 million-a-year pitcher and replaced a minimum salary rookie like Ellsbury with a mediocre free agent veteran (Corey Patterson? Cameron?) — and it's the rest of us who don't understand cost effectiveness.

            And while you're freaking out about the defense of Jacoby Ellsbury, you're wondering why in God's name the Red Sox didn't sign Adam Dunn. Hm!

            I'm assuming you would have played Dunn at first base or the outfield — or did you want to eat two years of David Ortiz's contract to make room for him? By my calculations that would have made for $21 million committed to the DH spot for at least two years. How's that for cost effectiveness!

          • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 2:54 PM #

            1). Yes, because Santana is one of the top 5 pitchers in the game. $20m for Santana and whatever human we can find to play center (like, I don't know, Coco Crisp the center fielder we already had) is better than what we currently have. And because we would've had Santana, we don't spend $8m or so on Smoltz and Penny retreads.

            2). Are you really comparing CF and a part-time 1b for defense? Dunn would've split time between DH and 1B giving Ortiz, Youkilis and the always-broken down Mike Lowell time off.

            if I had my druthers, we never would've signed Lowell's $12m contract and gone with Lowrie and Youk at third for '08 and virtually no additional cash, then Dunn at first, Ortiz at DH and Youk at third in '09. Each year would've been below what we currently pay.

    • ChiTomA December 4, 2009 at 12:34 PM #

      What exactly was the "home-run" option at shortstop this year Sean O? Should we have traded the farm system for JJ Hardy or Stephen Drew? I don't really see what other options we had. While I'm not thrilled with Scuturo and he's not going to win us a championship, he'll provide good defense with an above average shortstop bat for two years at manageable money. The Sox love Iglesias and didn't want to give a Renteria or Lugo-like contract to another mediocre shortstop. For once they didn't do this. How can you argue that a two year deal paying Scuturo in 7 figures is paying an elite amount? And who would have been the elite SS option anyway?

      • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 12:58 PM #

        There was no home run option, that's the point. Instead of paying $6.25m for Scutaro's .720 OPS, we should be paying 400k for whatever AAA scrap we can find for a .680-.700 OPS. If you cannot get an elite player, don't spend any money on it. That way you don't cry poverty when big-name players become FA's.

        • evanbrunell December 4, 2009 at 1:45 PM #

          I will try this again. You are advocating cost-effectiveness. Why spend $12 million on Scutaro and his .720 OPS when we can spend league minimum for .680 OPS. Cost-effectiveness.

          • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM #

            Cost effectiveness and no upside. If we were spending a certain amount for a player with the ability to expand his ability then I'd be ok with it. But 6m for a 34 year old 720 OPS just doesn't make any sense to me.

          • evanbrunell December 4, 2009 at 1:59 PM #

            The full text of my comment didn't come through. I had another paragraph that essentially stated:

            The thing is that Boston IS advocating cost-effectiveness. You just disagree with their choice therein.

          • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 2:05 PM #

            There's nothing cost effective about this move. It's only cost effective if they wanted to waste 9m a year on Scutaro like they did Lugo. If I am willing to spend $25 for a Whopper, it's not cost-effective if they only charge $20. It's still insanely overpriced. I'd rather buy a Big Mac for 2 bucks.

          • evanbrunell December 5, 2009 at 9:26 AM #

            Opinion. Boston clearly disagrees.

        • ChiTomA December 4, 2009 at 4:51 PM #

          I think you're not realizing how much worse things could be. .720 OPS from a SS is not bad production, particularly when you're just expecting him to be an OBP guy at the bottom of the order. I don't think the Sox are expecting the guy to be launching balls over the monster with any regularity, but there is a big difference between what Alex Gonzalez and Nick Green (both about .300 OBPs last year) and what Scuturo provides (.350 OBP over last three years). I think that's the real difference here. What really is the downside here? This deal is not going to prevent any big moves over the next two years and sets the Sox up for Iglesias in two years, if not sooner.

          Also, I can't let the Santana comment go. On what planet is Santana worth $20MM per year plus Ellsbury, Masterson and other prospects (not to mention no VMart). Santana's had decreasing Ks/9 and 2 of the worst FIPs of his career in his two years on the Jr. Circuit with the Mets. All this while not being able to stay on the mound this year either. Your favorite whipping boy Mr. Beckett has had significantly better FIPs and pretty much all other relevant statistics. I don't think you believe he's worth $20MM a year…do you Sean?

    • Christian December 5, 2009 at 5:48 AM #

      Hey Sean O…Stop bitching. We couldn't do better. Period. And signing Scutaro for so little money (don't know what this "elite money" crap is, we got a bargain) allows us to spend it elsewhere. Likewise, the picking up of a type A eliminates fear of signing others based on losing a draft pick. Our first rounder is gone, no more worries there. We got an upgrade from last year, presumably a guy who can hold the position for an ENTIRE year (which would be a miracle in Boston). Is he the best? Hell no. But is he getting better? Absolutely. He changed his stance. He changed his approach. He did not have a hot year, he made the right adjustments. He finally put it together. Keep in mind the guy didn't debut in the majors until his later 20's. He's going through the same progression, just at an older age. Breathe.

  2. John Cate December 4, 2009 at 10:49 AM #

    This is a good signing. He's been improving for a number of years, and while I don't quite expect a repeat of 2008, he's going to keep producing decent offensive numbers for a shortstop, and he'll field the position well. I had someone on another site say the Red Sox should have gotten Tejada instead. They seemed to forget the fact that the top three Red Sox starting pitchers all have strong groundball tendencies, and you can't tell me that Beckett, Lester and Buchholz won't be more confident with Scutaro behind them, as opposed to the Shortstop-of-the-Month situation that prevailed last year.

    The fact that Scutaro signed this early on, and settled for two years and an option, tells me that he really wanted to be a Red Sox. I'm just glad the Braves took on a couple of replaceable FAs from the Sox to help make this signing possible. The shortstop black hole is fixed, and without surrendering any prospects that might help get Halladay or Adrian Gonzalez. Good job by Theo; I know signing Scutaro was a no-brainer, but to get it done on favorable terms is great.

  3. Shane December 4, 2009 at 11:05 AM #

    If it's a two year deal for the ~$7-8 million I've seen around then I'll be happy. It's not the move I'd have hoped for, but it seems to be a good enough option. Would I have rather had A-Gon for $3mil and one year? Yes, but unfortunately Toronto snapped him up real quick.

  4. Sean O December 4, 2009 at 11:27 AM #

    At least it's "only" 2/12.5. Still a massive ripoff, but not as bad as the speculation since the season ended.

    The messed up part? We should've kept Lugo.

    Lugo: .271 .336 .391 .727

    Scutaro: .265 .337 .384 .721

    It's the exact same. We effectively extended Julio Lugo another 2 years.

    • radiohix December 4, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

      Ok Sean, WE GOT IT: You hate that deal (as most deals anyway) and quit frankly I don't like it either but the guy is on our team now, we should root for him and hope he does well. Now, could you stop bitchin' about it? Or better bitchin' at all…at least till we sign Holliday ;-)
      It ain't an anger management unit here.

    • _Marcos_ December 4, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

      At least Scutaro can hit the baseball in the air. I think Lugo has anemia or something.

  5. Sean O December 4, 2009 at 11:48 AM #

    I'm fine with Holliday now. If we're going to set fire to 6.25m for another Lugo for 2 years, I'd rather set fire to 20m for Nolan Reimold's production with Holliday. I'd give him a 25% chance of being successful in the AL, but that's better than a 0% chance of production from Scutaro, right?

  6. Sean O December 4, 2009 at 12:16 PM #

    I think my problem is that I am so sick of the nonstop parade of boring white guys on this team. Even the hispanic players on the team somehow manage to be boring white guys. Scutaro, Lowell, Drew, Bay/Holliday are boring as hell. Beckett and Pedroia (albeit likably) are both total assholes. There is nothing interesting to watch about this team anymore, like when we had Nomar or Pedro or even Schilling. Or, hell, Sexy Lips.

    I don't think it's out of the question to get elite players, like we could've had with Dunn or Santana that are worth watching day-in, day-out. This cavalcade of mediocrity is bloody miserable, and for the $3k I spent on tickets last year, I expected something interesting. Does anyone really look forward to a Matsuzaka start for example?

    • radiohix December 4, 2009 at 1:31 PM #

      Dunn=Elite player? Hahahahaha. He'll be funny to watch…fielding a ball! Let me give you an illustration:
      " Have you ever missed the ball and had to go get it in the ocean? You sprint after it with all your energy, but you're limited by both the wet sand and the foot or three of water, so while you never really lose sight of the ball, and while it's not in danger of drifting away, it still takes forever to get there." That's Adam Dunn defense right there. It's funny…when he's playing against my team not for my team.

      • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 1:41 PM #

        And how would that have affected us with him splitting time between DH and 1B? He still has a .900 OPS and could've been had for $8 or $9m, and hopefully still can be next offseason to replace Ortiz.

  7. polako1 December 4, 2009 at 1:18 PM #

    My 2 cent's worth
    1- Give me a boring World Series champ any day;

    2- Shortstops should be defensive wizards, 10-15 homers, 30 doubles, 270 avg.–I guess I am too old-fashioned.

  8. Gerry December 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM #

    Sean, call me crazy, but I love to watch Daisuke pitch. Between him and, last year, Pap, I was able to get in strenuous cardio-vascular workouts while sitting down drinking a beer. Wonderful. And, with Daisuke and Pap, we got 18W and 38SV in the process. I'll take that every year.

    • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 2:01 PM #

      Seriously? That's really funny, because in my 20-25 or so games a year whenever people ask who's pitching and Daisuke is the answer, I get sympathetic groans. I'm glad that some do like seeing him pitch.

      I've seen Matsuzaka throw an absolute gem against the tigers in '07, and then a bunch of just painful starts since. Esepcially one against the Indians in '07 where I wanted to bite my hand off.

      • evanbrunell December 4, 2009 at 2:27 PM #

        Yep. If I'm going to a game and it's Dice pitching, people feel sorry for me.

  9. M.A.G. December 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM #

    Well, at least the contract looks reasonable. I didn't want to sign Scutaro for 3 years, but 2/12.5 looks like a calculated risk to me.

    Let's hope for the best.

    • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 2:06 PM #

      There's a $3m player option for 2012, and since he's a 36 year old utility player, nobody in their right minds would give him $3m except for us. It's a 3 year/15.5 contract.

      • M.A.G. December 4, 2009 at 12:52 PM #

        Look, man, I have my doubts about Scutaro too. I agree: the guy has only one good year under his belt, and his defense is more of a mixed bag. But the truth is there were not many options here. Lowrie simply cannot be trusted at this point, and the other SS candidates were pretty awful.

        So, I'm not saying you should be excited about him. But you are automatically assuming the worst case scenario. I don't think he is gonna repeat this season's numbers, but even if he regresses somewhat, he can still be a productive hitter. Just give the guy a chance.

        • Sean O December 4, 2009 at 6:01 PM #

          Thing is, I'm not assuming worst case, i'm saying that if he produces exactly the same as his career numbers, it's ridiculous for 6+m a season. I'm not saying he'll collapse, but the perfectly middle of the road solution is unacceptable for that price.

          He is completely undeserving of mention, a #9 hitter that will elicit groans at each plate attempt. Instead of paying less or finding an interesting solution, or both, as usual Theo does the least risky, least interesting, least helpful move possible.

          • Kurt December 4, 2009 at 6:23 PM #

            Instead of signing Scutaro, what would you have done differently?

          • evanbrunell December 4, 2009 at 6:44 PM #

            In 2008, Fangraphs valued Scutaro at $12.1 million. I think that their valuation system is way too ridiculous to cite, but I find that halving the number they provide is more realistic. (Example: Fangraphs says in 2009 that Scoot was worth $20.2 million. No…)

            That gives us $6 M. Scoot hit for a 697 OPS. Career OPS is 721. Works for me.

          • Shane December 4, 2009 at 7:26 PM #

            Fangraphs actually just posted something one their value system. It is not about what a player should be paid, but rather what their total WAR for that year would cost to replace. Not exactly the same thing.

            http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-doll

          • evanbrunell December 4, 2009 at 7:00 PM #

            Follow up on that. Keith Law: "Even if Scutaro's 2009 was — as it appears — a fluke year at the plate, his offensive advantage over Gonzalez well outweighs the small defensive disadvantage, leaving the Sox better off and with a player who, with some regression, will still represent a good value for his salary."

            I'm not saying Law and I are right, but you're saying that we're better off grabbing an AAA re-tread for the league minimum. We're saying that you're undervaluing what it takes to play in the majors. A .730 OPS does cost about $6M out of shortstop. Scutaro is good value at that price.

          • Sean O December 5, 2009 at 12:10 AM #

            What will you say when we, for the 3rd offseason in a row, cheap out and refuse to get a player who will legit help us for the future? None of the money they've spent since the '07 offseason has gone to improving this club in any meaningful way, instead going to stopgaps for a solution that never seems to arise.

            When are we going to get the solution instead of the stopgap? Is it ever coming? Will we stop pretending to be a small market team anytime soon?

      • Shane December 4, 2009 at 3:37 PM #

        I heard it was 2 yr for 10 mill, with a $6 mill club option/$3 million player option or $1.5 million payout for the 3rd year. Add in his $1 mill signing bonus and it is a the very least a 2 year $6.25 mill each contract. Not the end of the world.

  10. Joe Veno December 4, 2009 at 2:41 PM #

    How is this is bad move, Sean O? 6 million for a starting SS doesn't really hinder the Red Sox ability to spend on anyone else. They needed a SS, they got one. And it's a SS that fits into the plan, solid enough defense, ability to work the strike zone, gets on base a decent amount. It could be better, but could be worse also.

    • Kurt December 4, 2009 at 5:12 PM #

      Couldn't agree with you more. Considering the fact that we were desperately in need of a short stop and backed into a corner to the point where we had almost no leverage with Scutaro. Honestly, the fact that we got Scutaro for that reasonable of a contract with all of the factors stacked against us is nothing short of a miracle. Is it a great contract for us? Most definitely not. Is it the best of a bad situation? I think so. Who else was going to play short stop for us? The bottom line is that any of the other options available would have been worse offensively, and that includes Alex Gonzalez. The fact of the matter is that there are only a handful of elite offensive short stops in the league and they are all tied up long term. Also, I don't want to hear Pedroia because , in reality it was never anything more than a story meant to give the Sox leverage in discussions with Scutaro. Signing Scutaro gives us the best chance to win out of what was available.

  11. Daern December 4, 2009 at 2:45 PM #

    Aagh.

    Scutaro is going to give us below-average offensive production and just around average defense. Had we moved Pedroia to SS and signed a second baseman, we'd be far better off.

    • ChiTomA December 4, 2009 at 6:48 PM #

      What do you consider to be average offensive production at SS? Average AL SS production last year was .274/.329/.391 for a .720 OPS…not great is it? This is, coincidentally enough, about what Scuturo's career averages are. In fact, his stats over the last year were significantly higher. If he produces at his career average then we have at worst a league average SS. If he follows the trend from last year then we have a bit more than that. For $6MM a season that is very good production.

      While the Pedroia idea was interesting, there are a lot of major questions in there. Noone actually knows what Pedey's SS defense would be like at this point and there are major risks to making that decision on the fly.

  12. evanbrunell December 5, 2009 at 12:18 AM #

    Now THIS I agree with. Not the pretending to be a small market stuff — we don't. But everything else, yep. They've not gone for the jugular for a while and are building complementary pieces.

    • Shane December 4, 2009 at 10:48 PM #

      Their salaries didn't break the bank, but what about the extensions to Lester, Youk and Pedroia? Would they have been as easy paying Santana $20 mill a season?

  13. Jason December 4, 2009 at 8:58 PM #

    We filled a hole. That is the good news. The bad news is we filled that hole with a utility player rather than a future hall of famer. decent glove subpar hitter. we need to sign holladay,(if for nothing less than to keep him off the yankees rotation) and as much as i love lowell his days in a red sox uni should come to an end. he is far to injury prone/ chronic injuries to help us on a consistent basis. figgins signed with the mariners . beltre is the only decent option out there. we could also get troy glaus for peanuts and put him in pawtucket and see if he can return to the bigs after his shoulder injuries.

  14. Sean O December 4, 2009 at 9:14 PM #

    A's apparently offered more money and a third year. If Scutaro and Lowell had taken more money and a longer commitment to go to other teams, my life would've been better at this moment.

    These players need to stop trying to join a contender, because their very presence removes us from contender status.

  15. M-Tab December 4, 2009 at 10:17 PM #

    Dude, what is your problem? Is it really that agonizing watching your team make the playoffs every year?

    I'm still trying to get my head around the idea that even in hindsight, your plan for third base two years ago was Jed Lowrie — who spent the next two years injured. Or that you want journeyman vet-minimum players instead of guys like Lowell and Scutaro when elite players aren't available. What's the logic here — that if the right guy isn't available, you pick up your ball and go home until the next free agency period?

    This is a $120 million-dollar team that expects to win every year. They need to have league average or better players pretty much at every spot. Scutaro's at least average, maybe better, and he's coming relatively cheap on a very short contract. What's the downside? Who is he blocking? What is your other plan?

    And if your issue is that Scutaro's $6 million is going to keep the Sox from signing elite players, that's just laughable. This team has mountains of money — so much so that they signed Lowell to big money three years ago knowing they were going to go after Teixeira the following year and would probably end up eating Lowell's contract in a trade. A team that can afford those kinds of decisions is not going to be bothered one way or another by two years and $12 million.

    And by the way, really, if you're going to complain about Ellsbury's defense, you can't seriously propose playing Adam Dunn in the field, even for one year, even at first base.

    The only relevant consideration with this Scutaro business is whether or not they could have gotten someone better than him for the upcoming season.