2010 Free agent profile: Marco Scutaro

I’m beginning to agree with Darren at Sox Therapy, I think that Boston is going to be pretty conservative this offseason, and that they’ll bring in a veteran shortstop to plug that hole. Could it be Marco Scutaro? Scutaro had been seen as a utility-type player, but when given a chance in Toronto, he turned in two very good years in his age 32 and 33 seasons. One of the best contact hitters in the game with just enough pop to make him valuable, Scutaro could be a godsend for a team in need of a quality, short-term shortstop.

Scutaro had an unbelievable season at the plate, hitting .282/.379/.409 in a starting role and posting a wOBA of .354. It was unbelievable because he is a career .265/.337/.384 hitter (including 2009), never topping a .331 wOBA back in 2006 with the Athletics. It would be wise of us not to expect too much from him in 2010, given his history. Still, he has progressed as a hitter, and looks to be about league average with the bat. That’s solid. Scutaro is a line drive hitter who hits all pitch types decently, but nothing very well. The pitches he seems to struggle with the most are the cut fastball and splitters.

What I don’t get is where Scutaro gets this reputation as a top-notch defensive shortstop. He’s not. He makes very few errors and had one really good season in Toronto in 2008, but he was just a tick above average in 2009 (1.0 UZR/150) and his career numbers in the hole are not especially impressive (lifetime -2.9 UZR/150). He actually profiles better as a second baseman, if history has any say in this. But he’s quite adequate, even in today’s climate where more and more teams are going for defense in the hole.

By our projections, he could manage a .273/.360/.386 line if given a full season. I’d take that over what we have in-house in a heartbeat, at least until Jed Lowrie proves he can stay healthy. Scutaro’s always managed a good walk rate; he’s a guy who fouls off balls by the bucketful, and rarely strikes out. A good signing for one or two years, and he could come relatively cheap, perhaps around $6/year. I’d characterize him as a better-hitting Alex Gonzalez for the same price we would have paid on his 2010 option.

Other projections

Bill James .264/.347/.381, .326 wOBA
CHONE .266/.362/.376


One Response to 2010 Free agent profile: Marco Scutaro

  1. Jeff Carini says:

    How about Felipe Lopez? He’s played 2nd for the most part in the last few years but he should be able to move back to short without much of a problem. His OBP has been improving the last couple of seasons. One problem – he’s a Scot Boras client and will be looking for a long term deal. Also, how would his numbers translate in the AL East? If they could get him on a 2 year deal plus an option, he might be a decent option at 29 years old.

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