The revolving door that is the Red Sox shortstop position just got another new occupant.
A lot of people in the Red Sox organization are excited about the deal.
“I’m thrilled,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s reliable. He gets on base. He knows how to play the game. I’ve always kind of been a big fan. I’ve always had him up there, and I think [general manager] Theo [Epstein] always thought the same. When I talked to Theo, you could hear the excitement in his voice, which was nice to hear.”
And rightfully so.
Scutaro, always a reliable utility player, finally got a chance at being an everyday player last season and he took full advantage of it.
He had the best year of his eight-season career in 2009. He finished the season with 12 home runs, 60 RBI, and a .282 batting average. He had career highs in at-bats (574), runs (100), hits (162), home runs (12), stolen bases (14), walks (90), batting average, on-base percentage (.379), and slugging percentage (.788).
Scutaro is also a solid fielder. At shortstop (Scutaro played two games at second base in ’09), he committed only 10 errors (only three more than Gonzalez) and had a .984 fielding percentage (equal to Gonzalez).
Outside of proving to be a productive player, Scutaro is expected to be a mainstay at shortstop creating a sense of certainty at the position, where four different players saw time last season.
“To have that now from day one, with this guy at short and [catcher] Victor [Martinez] for a full year, will be [big],” Francona said.
The biggest drawback to the signing is that Scutaro was a type-A free agent, which meant Boston had to fork over its first round draft choice to Toronto. However, Boston lucked out because they received a first round pick back, and in a better position, when Atlanta signed the Red Sox class-A free agent Billy Wagner.
So not only did the Sox improve at shortstop, they also improved in position in the first round of the amateur player draft.
Scutaro himself is excited to be in Boston. Reports suggest that he received a slightly larger monetary offer from Oakland before agreeing to a deal with Boston.
The lure of a championship-caliber team was too promising.
“You get to a point where you just want to live the experience, just want to be in the World Series, just want to win the ring,” said Scutaro. “I think this is the perfect team to do that.”
It’s a mutual feeling; Boston thinks that Scutaro is the perfect fit to get them back to the promised land.