Red Sox Exercise Option & Retain Scutaro
Ben Cherington officially made his first move as the new GM for the Red Sox on Sunday. As was expected, Cherington exercised the team’s option on Marco Scutaro meaning the shortstop will return for a third season.
The option is worth $6 million for next season and it was Scutaro who played his was into the option, forcing Cherington to retain Scutaro. The former Toronto Blue Jay hit .299 for the season and had a slugging percentage of .423, both career highs. He also hit 7 home runs and drove in 54 runs to go with an OBP of .358 in 113 games.
Scutaro’s .299 batting average was the second highest amongst all American League shortstops and it was his September that made his stock so valuable. Scutaro was one of the few Red Sox that consistently swung the bat with efficiency, hitting .387 with an OBP of .438 and drove in 21 of his 54 RBI in the final month.
The move to bring back Scutarofor 2012 all but confirms that highly touted prospect, Jose Iglesias will likely start the season in AAA Pawtucket to acquire a better feel at the plate. Should Iglesias prove he’s ready to make the jump at any point next season, then perhaps Scutaro becomes expendable in the trade market.
It also all but confirms that the Red Sox have no interest in going after highly sought after free agent Jose Reyes. While signing Reyes appeared to be at the bottom of Cherington’s list, the Scutaro option all but rules out any possibility of Reyes coming to Boston. Which is probably for the best for the Red Sox as Reyes will likely cash in at around $20 million per season. His services are unique, but with Iglesias proving his defensive skills are also above average, Reyes can seek his money elsewhere.
Regardless, this first move is one less that Cherington now has to worry about. He can now put his attention towards other areas such as David Oritz and perhaps Jonathan Papelbon? Here we go, the hot stove is getting warm. It’s going to be a fun offseason.
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