Here's Jhonny!: Marco Scutaro Not Boston Red Sox's Only Shortstop Option

Lewie PollisSenior Analyst IIIDecember 1, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 27:  Jhonny Peralta #2 of the Cleveland Indians runs back to the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 27, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

There are some things in life we know to be true.

The sun rises in the East. Politicians are crooks. Family Guy will never be funnier than The Simpsons was at its peak.

And the Boston Red Sox will sign Marco Scutaro.

With Alex Gonzalez headed for Toronto and J.J. Hardy already traded, we’re told that Scutaro, by far the best shortstop in this year’s free agent class, is as good as signed.

While analysts from every media outlet have already mentally placed him in Fenway Park, the award for most authoritative declaration goes to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi from FOX, who wrote, “the Blue Jays' signing of Gonzalez leaves the Red Sox with virtually no choice but to sign Marco Scutaro.”

And who wouldn’t want Marco Scutaro? He had a breakout year last season at age 34, hitting .282/12/60 with a .789 OPS.

I think it’s safe to say that Red Sox Nation is half-heartedly cheering and pretending to smile, hoping there’s more to the story. If you’re a Bostonian who’s quietly hoping that the Marco Scutaro who will soon come to Fenway is not the same Marco Scutaro who didn’t post an OPS over .750 until his mid-30s, don’t be scared—that indicates only that you are sane.

I doubt anyone really thinks very highly of Scutaro, they just fear that, short of moving Dustin Pedroia , the Red Sox don’t have any other options. Which means that they haven’t thought the situation through very carefully.

Anyone outside of Cleveland ever heard of Jhonny Peralta? Just 27 years old, he’s averaged 18 homers, 78 RBI, and a .769 OPS over five full seasons with the Indians.

No one’s calling him an All-Star, but those are pretty good numbers for a young infielder. More importantly, they’re much better than Scutaro had ever been before his fluky 2009 campaign.

Believe it or not, most Indians fans want to trade Peralta. He has a reputation for being a terrible player, largely based on his offensive streakiness and inability to fill Omar Vizquel’s shoes in the field. I’m one of the many who has called for Peralta to be traded or benched, though I admit my feelings may be a bit irrational.

While Peralta isn’t always on a hot streak, it’s pretty clear that his bat is more potent than Scutaro’s. And even though Jhonny’s career -5.8 UZR/150 at shortstop is unappetizing, his fielding has improved from season-to-season (8.4 UZR/150 in 41 games at SS in 2009). In any event, Scutaro’s no wizard in the field either, with a career UZR/150 of -2.9 at shortstop.

On top of that, the Red Sox wouldn’t have to cede a draft pick, and acquiring Peralta wouldn’t cost them any of their elite prospects. Jed Lowrie would probably head to Cleveland (a change of scenery could do him some good), and maybe a good-not-great prospect like Anthony Rizzo or Felix Doubront.

What do you think, Boston fans? Would you like to see Jhonny’s unusually spelled name on the Fenway scoreboard in 2010?