Marco Scutaro hit .362 in 61 regular season games for the Giants, was named MVP of the NLCS, and delivered the World Series-winning hit in Game 4 last night.
It was one helluva stint in San Francisco for the 37-year-old veteran and made even more amazing by the fact that three months ago Scutaro was playing for a last-place team and playing pretty poorly too.
Before the Rockies traded Scutaro to the Giants on July 27 he hit just .271 with a .324 on-base percentage and .361 slugging percentage in 95 games. To put in some context, consider that Scutaro’s batting average (.362) with the Giants was higher than his slugging percentage (.361) with the Rockies and his .684 OPS for Colorado was the worst mark of his entire career despite calling Coors Field home.
Away from the best hitter’s ballpark in baseball Scutaro hit .238 with a .570 OPS in 47 games for the Rockies, who traded him for a non-prospect and then watched him hit .362 in the regular season and .328 in the postseason.
Scutaro said it best when asked about his journey from playing poorly on a last-place team to starring on the World Series winners: “This is a dream come true. If anybody would’ve told me in late June that I was going to be in the World Series, or I was going to be a world champ, I would’ve slapped you in the face.”
Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.
Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.
Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.
Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:
“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”