The Rockies and Red Sox are "finishing up" a trade that would send Marco Scutaro to Colorado in exchange for a pitcher, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Renck believes the pitcher heading to Boston could be Clayton Mortensen, whose name was mentioned in previous discussions between the two teams (via Twitter).
Renck reported the deal as being close yesterday, though talks also seemed to fizzle just as quickly. Today, negotiations restarted as Renck says the Rockies had to "work through financial issues" to fit Scutaro's $6MM salary into the payroll.
Scutaro fills the Rockies' need for a second baseman, as the veteran will return to the position after primarily playing shortstop over the last three seasons. Scutaro hit .299/.358/.423 in 445 plate appearances with Boston in 2011, and is returning to the NL for the first time since he broke into the Majors with the Mets in 2002-03.
For the Red Sox, the deal frees room in the payroll for the club to pursue a starting pitcher. It also creates a hole at shortstop, with a Mike Aviles-Nick Punto platoon being the likeliest short-term solution. Prospect Jose Iglesias could also be in the mix if he has an excellent Spring Training.
Mortensen, 26, was a supplemental first-round pick (36th overall) for the Cardinals in the 2007 draft. He was part of the trade package the Cardinals sent to the A's in July 2009 in exchange for Matt Holliday. Mortensen has a 5.12 ERA, a 4.7 K/9 rate and a 3.7 BB/9 rate in 24 Major League games (13 of them starts) with the Rockies, A's and Cardinals.
This post was originally published on January 21st.