Marco Scutaro had a solid first season in Boston after signing a two-year, $12.5 million contract as a free agent last winter, basically duplicating his career numbers by hitting .275/.333/.388 despite playing through multiple injuries.
He was signed in large part because of Jed Lowrie’s uncertain injury status, but now that Lowrie is healthy again Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox “are opening to trading Scutaro for the right part.”
Scutaro is owed $5 million in 2011, with a $6.5 million option or $1.5 million buyout for 2012, which suddenly looks like a very reasonable contract in what is a very weak market for free agent shortstops. However, while the Red Sox’s odds of cashing in Scutaro for good value are helped by the weak market, trading him without bringing in another shortstop option would be placing an awful lot of faith in Lowrie staying healthy.
Lowrie was fantastic after joining the team in mid-July, hitting .287/.381/.526 in 197 plate appearances, and at 26 years old has likely reasserted himself as Boston’s long-term shortstop, but he’s played a total of 87 games in the past two seasons and the Red Sox typically like to stockpile depth as much as any team. Plus, with Dustin Pedroia coming back from a broken foot having both Scutaro and Lowrie is hardly overkill.
Setting their rotation for the beginning of the ALDS versus the Blue Jays, the Rangers announced that right-hander Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1 and left-hander Cole Hamels will start Game 2.
Gallardo posted a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts this season, but averaged just 5.6 innings per start and hasn’t completed six or more innings in a start since mid-August. Clearly the Rangers will be hoping for five or six innings from him before turning it over to the bullpen.
Hamels, on the other hand, averaged seven innings in his 12 post-trade starts for the Rangers, including tossing a complete-game against the Angels in the regular season finale. He’s obviously the Rangers’ best starting pitcher, but because Hamels was needed to clinch the division title in Game 162 he’s not available to start Game 1 of the playoffs.
In the seemingly never-ending trend of front office officials getting new titles, the Cleveland Indians just announced that General Manager Chris Antonetti has been promoted to President of Baseball Operations and Mike Chernoff is now the GM.
Antonetti has been the Tribe’s GM for the past five years and is moving up in the wake of team president Mark Shapiro moving on to Toronto. Shapiro, however, also held business side responsibilities which Antonetti will not assume. Meaning, as before, he will be the top guy on baseball ops decisions, albeit with a grander title.
Chernoff has been an assistant GM for five years and has been with the organization for the past 12 years. As many new GMs these days he will, functionally speaking, still be an assistant when it comes to baseball decisions.