Red Sox expected to pick up Marco Scutaro’s option for 2012

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New Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has plenty of important decisions awaiting him this offseason, but the status of Marco Scutaro looks like an easy call.

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald was told by “a source familiar with the Red Sox thinking” that the club is leaning toward picking up Scutaro’s $6 million option for 2012.

Scutaro, who turns 36 on Sunday, batted .299/.358/.423 with seven home runs, 54 RBI and a .781 OPS over 445 plate appearances this season. While the Red Sox collapsed down the stretch, Scutaro certainly did his part to keep them afloat, batting .387 with two homers, 21 RBI and a 1.019 OPS in September. Jed Lowrie was bothered by a lingering shoulder injury this season while Jose Iglesias struggled in the minors, so bringing Scutaro back would allow the Red Sox to focus on upgrading in other areas.

The Red Sox would owe $1.5 million in the form of a buyout if they decline the option, but Scutaro also has a $3 million player option to return in 2012.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.