Scutaro, who turns 35 today, enjoyed arguably the best offensive season of his career in 2011. In 113 games, he batted .299/.358/.423 while playing slightly above average defense at shortstop (according to UZR). Scutaro's offensive production and solid glove make a $6MM salary for 2012 a bargain.
While the move was expected, this news confirms that the market for shortstops will be even thinner beyond the two premier names atop the list: Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins. Players such as Clint Barmes, Jamey Carroll, and Alex Gonzalez (to name a few) figure to benefit from Scutaro's absence on the open market. This move represents the first official transaction for new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.