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Red Sox fill shortstop void with Marco Scutaro

Dec 4, 2009, 11:58 AM EST

Marco Scutaro’s contract with the Red Sox is a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2012 and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has the monetary details:
Signing bonus: $1 million
2010: $5 million
2011: $5 million
2012: $6 million team option, $3 million player option, or $1.5 million buyout
Technically that means Scutaro is guaranteed at least $12.5 million over two seasons, but he has the ability to extend the deal to a minimum of $14 million over three years and if the Red Sox exercise their 2012 option he’ll end up with $17 million total.
Boston having to give up next season’s first-round pick to sign Scutaro makes the deal significantly different than Philadelphia signing Placido Polanco, but strictly in terms of years and money the Red Sox are assuming quite a bit less risk than the Phillies.
Polanco is guaranteed $18 million over three years and as much as $22.5 million over four years. Scutaro is guaranteed $12.5 million over two years and as much as $17 million over three years. Scutaro was quite a bit more valuable than Polanco this season, but they were both born in 1975 and Polanco has a much better pre-2009 track record. Toss in the fact that Polanco didn’t require giving up a first-round pick to sign and those differences certainly explain some of the higher price tag.
Losing a top-30 pick hurts given how well Boston has drafted recently, but based solely on the contracts I’d rather have Scutaro. He’ll be paid less than Polanco in each of the next two seasons, at which point the Red Sox can choose to cut bait while the Phillies will be paying a 36-year-old Polanco over $6 million in 2012. And while 2009 was a career-year for Scutaro, his combined .270/.354/.382 line during the past four seasons is fairly similar to the .307/.351/.411 mark produced by Polanco over that same span.
Sending a first-round pick to Toronto for the right to pay Scutaro at least $14 million for two seasons is hardly ideal, but given the weak crop of free-agent shortstops and seemingly sparse trade options Boston did pretty well to land him without assuming as much risk as Philadelphia did with Polanco. How well Scutaro will hit going forward is certainly up for debate, but he’ll be an upgrade regardless after Red Sox shortstops hit just .235/.297/.358 this season.

  1. Ryan - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:15 PM

    There’s no baseball today, yet still the Red Sox made an error at shortstop. I just hope Marco comes out of the gate hot.

  2. Joey B - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    I think the issue of the #1 plays into whether or not additional signings are expected. I see no way that Theo hands over a #1 for Scutaro. I think he fully intends to sign another Type A, making Scutaro a much more affordable #2.

  3. quintjs - Dec 4, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    I think the point about draft picks is lost when failing to mention the Red Sox picked up #20 overall when the Braves signed Wagner.
    That made it easier to lose their first round pick to Toronto.
    Plus Toronto haven’t exactly drafted well in previous years.
    That being said, not sure I wouldn’t rather have Lowrie and Everett at SS and have 2 top 30 draft picks.

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