Marco Scutaro’s 2012 Option

If Red Sox fans are agonizing about Marco Scutaro today, it’s probably about his baserunning in last night’s loss to the Orioles, not about his contract option for 2012 and role on next year's team. But at some point this month, the Red Sox front office will have to decide whether to retain Scutaro or let him walk in search of big name replacements or in deference to Jose Iglesias’ glove.

Scutaro’s option is more complex than most; here’s how it breaks down: Boston has a $6MM option as part of the two-year, $12.5MM deal they agreed to after the 2009 campaign. If the Red Sox don't exercise Scutaro's option, he can remain in Boston for $3MM instead of taking a $1.5MM buyout.

Earlier in the year, when Scutaro was struggling and it was easier to dream on Iglesias, there didn't appear to be much of a chance that the Red Sox would pick up their side of the option. Now that the season's over, Scutaro's numbers are impressive. He has career highs in batting average and slugging percentage for a .299/.358/.423 line in 445 plate appearances. It’s no one-year blip, either. Only seven shortstops have contributed more wins above replacement (12.7) since 2008, according to FanGraphs’ version of the statistic.

Scutaro has always had a fantastic eye for the strike zone and his disciplined approach continued this year. He had a career-best 8.1% strikeout rate, finished with more walks (38) than strikeouts (36) and only Juan Pierre swung and missed at a lower percentage of pitches (min. 400 PAs, Scutaro's contact rate was 94.7%). 

Scutaro, who turns 36 this offseason, can handle shortstop, though he doesn’t have Iglesias' defensive reputation and he can contribute on offense, though he might not have the same offensive upside as Jed Lowrie. If the Red Sox decide they can do without Scutaro, they could offer him arbitration after declining his option and obtain a compensatory draft pick in 2012, assuming he turns arbitration down and signs a Major League deal with another team.

There are better MLB shortstops out there, but Scutaro’s ability to play a premium defensive position, make contact and get on base is worth a lot. He’ll have no trouble drawing interest if he hits free agency and would have a strong case for another multiyear deal on the open market (Omar Infante just got one). I expect the Red Sox to pick up the option, since Scutaro has proven to be a valuable everyday player and there’s limited risk on a one-year commitment.

53 Responses to Marco Scutaro’s 2012 Option Leave a Reply

  1. Boz 4 years ago

    Jose Reyes

    • Bombastic_Dave 4 years ago

      Because the Red Sox need to spend more money to win.

      • MaineSox 4 years ago

        All the Red Sox really need to do to win is to stay healthy, something they haven’t been able to do the last couple of years.  If they are going to spend big money though it likely isn’t going to be at SS, or any other offensive position, it’s going to be in their rotation.

        • bosox21 4 years ago

          How about a new medical/training staff?

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            I know most people (particularly around Boston) seem to think that that is a huge issue, but I’m not really seeing it.  The guys that have had problems (Ellsbury and Buchholz in particular) have been sent to multiple specialists who have no affiliation with the Red Sox and those specialists have either come to the same conclusions, or come to new ones that have also been wrong, so even if the Sox medical staff deserves some heat for those problems they certainly don’t deserve all of it, and probably not even most of it.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            need a new 3B coach. needed one in april

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            This I can agree with wholeheartedly.

          • bosox21 4 years ago

            I was mostly being sarcastic…many fans seem to be pointing the finger that direction. New 3b coach is a must though. 

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            they just want a scapegoat. in reality, this kind of thing can happen without anyone in management screwing up

            it’s entirely possible and maybe even likely that someone did screw up, but we can’t know that just from the results themselves

          • johnsilver 4 years ago

            IMO the most valuable member of the coach/manager hired by Epstein has walked to Toronto already. John Farrell

          • Johnmilo 4 years ago

            Who was that guy coaching 3B Terry’s next door neighbor? Sports publications, do us a favor and pick the Sox to finish at the back of the pack in order to give these (I like beer players) some motivation. Also Gonzo stay out of Home run derby at the Allstar games from now on!

      • Boz 4 years ago

        I actually said that as a joke. but if you want to go there…

        there is no correlation between payroll and success. the correlation is between talent and success. Boston overpaid on 2 players (Lackey and CC) and it hurt them.  Reyes would be another mistake signing. he obviously doesn’t have a true baseball heart and he is very injury prone and is an aging speedster. all recipe’s for disaster.

        • Spaldingballs 4 years ago

          Well, considering money buys talent, it’s inevitable that there is positive correlation between wins and payroll.

          • jondogg2010 4 years ago

            As I eluded to earlier when a team generates a fan base and revenue, it will have more money to spend on the mentioned talent.

          • yeah to say there is no correlation is a bit daft. Instead say it doesn’t *always* buy success. Countless teams have shown us you can’t just spend big, but it sure helps. That a team like the Sox can afford to when they need it, or don’t have to worry about retaining a free agent makes life a lot easier.

          • RedSx799 4 years ago

            The Sox (90 wins) spent roughly $2M per win give or take. The Rays (91 Wins) spent roughly $0.5M per win.

            All numbers are relative and estimated, so I might be a bit off. point being the Sox spent roughly 4x more per win than the Rays.

            Sox 2011 Payroll: $180M (give or take)
            Rays 2011 Payroll: $42M (give or take)

            As a Sox fan, this is ugly.

            What’s worse, Crawford is going to get a $5M Raise in 2012, to over $20M. that would have been 1/3 of Tampa’s payroll on one player.

      • jondogg2010 4 years ago

        Angry Blue Jays Fan. Do we need to go into the economical part of WHY a team has X amount of $$ to spend? Maybe sell out a few games, and your team could increase it’s payroll too!

        • Bombastic_Dave 4 years ago

          Who’s angry?  My team has money to spend and is being smart in the way that it’s done.  Developing talent is much cheaper than randomly spending on free agents.

          Besides, I was being facetious in what I said, referring to the Sox being beat to the playoffs by a team with a payroll of $120M less.

  2. jdbrk 4 years ago

    I was at the game last night and yes, I was in agony when he stopped between 2nd and 3rd before getting thrown out at home, but in his defense, his baserunning totally induced Simon into the balk that scored the 2nd run.  That and the DP were great plays.  I don’t know about the option, but I sure don’t blame him for last night.

    • MaineSox 4 years ago

      Bogar was waiving him home when he stopped too, but I really have to wonder if it has gotten to the point where the runners don’t trust Bogar and he felt he needed to look for himself.  If he had been able to (or perhaps just had) trusted Bogar and not stopped he would have made it easily.

      • bosox21 4 years ago

        Watching that play unfold last night led me to the same conclusion. Tim Bogar WILL NOT be back next season, as he cost the sox countless runs in crucial games down the stretch this season. 

      • jdbrk 4 years ago

        Thanks, haven’t seen a replay and didn’t see the coach while it was happening so I’ve been wondering what the signal was.   

  3. Ill just be glad not to hear that inane MARCO!. Scutaro!….chant!

  4. bosox21 4 years ago

    Let’s clear this up, it was a bad read by Scutaro but Tim Bogar should NEVER have sent him after seeing him stop between second and third. Also, I think the Sox NEED to trade Lowrie for some pitching depth and bring back Scutaro as a platoon SS with Iglasias as well as a back up for Pedroia and Youk WHEN he breaks down again next season. 

    • MaineSox 4 years ago

      I was going to say almost exactly that.  The only thing I would do differently is have Iglesias start the year in AAA again and have him earn his way to the Majors; you’d start the year with Scutaro at SS and Aviles as the utility guy, and when (if) Iglesias earns his way to the majors Scutaro would make a really good utility guy, he can play 2B, SS, 3B and (I think) he’s played the corner outfield too.

      • bosox21 4 years ago

        Yeah I could def see that happening. Scutaro to me earned alot of respect for being one of the only players on the team this september that actually tried to win a few ballgames. Too bad he will be remember by the casual fan for this baserunning error, becuase he came up huge this past month. 

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          i think even the pink hats will remember the DP and how hot he was at the end. i’m kind of amazed at how slow he is for a passable shortstop, though

          one possible bright side from all of this is that there may be a lot of people finally jumping off of the redsox bandwagon

          • bosox21 4 years ago

            True, the pink hats are moving over to the Bruins now.

          • Most unfortunate.  Although baseball is an easier sport for the casual fan to follow, in my opinion.

    • jondogg2010 4 years ago

      And if Scutaro doesn’t create a balk, make a few good defensive plays, and get timely hits, the Sox aren’t even in the position they are. I don’t know why people are yet again focusing on the negatives when other than Pedroia and Lester, he was the 3rd most valuable player in last nights game.

    • Slopeboy 4 years ago

      What you say about Lowrie sounds similar to what many Sox fans were saying about Ellsbury last year. Granted, his issues have been about health, but he’s shown signs that he’s a player which is only going to get better. Sox would have no trouble trading him. Just be careful what you wish for.

      • bosox21 4 years ago

        I don’t recall many people saying trade ells last season, but either way the offense was not the problem this season, at least for most of the season. They can live without having Lowrie on this team next season, he’s a backup infielder, with a very, very average (being generous here) glove. This team needs pitching and Lowrie is a pretty good trade piece. 

        • Slopeboy 4 years ago

          Maybe not you, but there were plenty of outraged Sox fans claiming that he was either jaking it or just plain soft and should have been moved. Funny how an MVP season clouds bad memories.
          As for Lowrie, I’ll concede that he’s not the slickest of fielders, but when he’s on the field, he’s a tough out and a gritty player with an upside. If you can get a decent pitcher for him make the move, but this guy is an underrated player.

          • bosox21 4 years ago

            I don’t really think he is underrated. He’s all the things you say he is, he’s got upside and whatnot but hes totally replaceable. Move him while he is healthy and get a arm to help out next year. I’d take Aviles over Lowrie at this point anyways. At least Aviles has a track record of being healthy

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            lowrie’s value is too low to make moving him worthwhile. he has plenty of upside and should be kept at least until he gains some value back

            he finished the season poorly, but the beginning of the year wasn’t a fluke. he is very strong against LHP and is an adequate 3B who can pass at SS once in awhile. if he comes back next year remembering to take walks and can hang against RHP, he’s got the chance to become a very valuable player

          • bosox21 4 years ago

            I won’t argue with anything you said there about Lowrie. I think that’s why he’s got some trade value…I personally think Lowrie will be a pretty good player and could probably start for a few teams right now, but on this team he’s a backup. This is assuming they start Iglesias in the majors. Scutaro had a pretty good year so why not bring him back to fill Lowrie’s role or platoon and short, and trade Lowrie and a prospect or two for a good starting pitcher. They need to build to win it all next season, can’t really wait for Lowrie stay healthy and figure it out at the majors. My opinion at least..

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            no chance iglesias starts in the majors, so i think there’s room for lowrie with scutaro and aviles to start the year. scutaro was red hot toward the end of this season, but cannot be expected to be all that good going forward. the starting job is his, but he could easily lose it lowrie again in 2012

            once lowrie regains some of that value, i have no problem trading him

  5. Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

    Scuts is far from perfect, but he showed me here in September, when it matters most, that he has the grit, determination and skill set to be a winner.  I would pick up the option.

  6.  That’s the key really, the fans either have to come out first, or the team has to start winning first. Bothers me that TO doesn’t have bigger crowds, specially when I’m sitting  at home two provinces over watching them on TV and wishing I was at the game. All the more reason to hope Lawrie builds on what he started. A Canadian star might finally put some people in the stands.

  7. garylanglais 4 years ago

    I’d be shocked if the Red Sox picked up the option.  I’d also be shocked if Scutaro came back at the $3m offer.  It’s possible the buyout happens ($1.5m) and Scutaro comes back at a $3m salary….basically just cutting the offers down the middle ($4.5m).  His arm is awful.  He is better suited for 2B and his hitting numbers would still be appreciated. 

    Remember in 2007 the Red Sox had a highly valued prospect and a respected veteran already on the roster.  That would obviously be Pedroia and Alex Cora.  I think the Sox turn over the reins to Iglesias on Opening Day and throw him into the gauntlet and use Scutaro as utility MIF.

    Aviles and Lowrie will both be 1st time Arb eligible this off season.  I think 1 of the 2 come back and I’m leaning to the Lowrie Experiment officially ending in Boston.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      his arm is passable at short, just like his overall defense. $6M is very affordable for a stopgap at that position

  8. JayTeam 4 years ago

    I’ve thought for a while that Scutaro would be the right guy for the Jays to target for their 2nd base job if he became available. The article doesn’t even mention the fact Scutaro doesn’t have the arm to play a quality shortstop (or back up 3rd as some suggest). 2nd base is where he would fit best.

  9. icedrake523 4 years ago

    As a Met fan, I suggest they purge their roster of as many players as reasonably possible after this season. It’s one thing the Mets never did. 5 years later a 500 record would be an accomplishment for my team.

  10. NomarGarciaparra 4 years ago

    Theo please pick up his option. Since Nomar’s departure in 2004, Scutaro has been the best/most consistent shortshop for the Sox. He’s no all-star, but he’s plays the game well and hard. So far, he has been well worth his contract, and one of the better signings that Theo has made.

  11. Jeff 4 years ago

    Idea: Marco Scutaro for Jajr Jurrjens+Derek Lowe+$5 mil  (cover JJ’s salary basically)

    You need a starter, give you two, one of which is very good when healthy.
    Braves need a SS and money off the books.  

    Scutaro won’t block Pastornicky or Simmons, and he’ll get on base unlike A-Gon (who is cheap)

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      that’d be $30M for boston’s 5th and 6th starters. jurrjens would be nice, but not at that cost

  12. where can I find ESPN`s openning day predictions of 2011??, i want to know who gave the redsox and phillies for world champs.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      google it. almost all of them picked boston

  13. derekbellstutu 4 years ago

    If Scutaro isn’t picked up by the Red Sox for 2012, the Pirates should sign him.  He would be an upgrade over Ronny Cedeno & be a stopgap until Chase D’Arnaud/Jordy Mercer/??? are ready to take over full-time.

  14. Alldaybaseball 4 years ago

    Braves should defiantly try for him if the Red Sox don’t keep him. Braves need a guy with average and can put the ball in play like he does.

  15. tatas or gtfo?

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