Red Sox fill shortstop void with Marco Scutaro

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Marco Scutaro’s contract with the Red Sox is a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2012 and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has the monetary details:
Signing bonus: $1 million
2010: $5 million
2011: $5 million
2012: $6 million team option, $3 million player option, or $1.5 million buyout
Technically that means Scutaro is guaranteed at least $12.5 million over two seasons, but he has the ability to extend the deal to a minimum of $14 million over three years and if the Red Sox exercise their 2012 option he’ll end up with $17 million total.
Boston having to give up next season’s first-round pick to sign Scutaro makes the deal significantly different than Philadelphia signing Placido Polanco, but strictly in terms of years and money the Red Sox are assuming quite a bit less risk than the Phillies.
Polanco is guaranteed $18 million over three years and as much as $22.5 million over four years. Scutaro is guaranteed $12.5 million over two years and as much as $17 million over three years. Scutaro was quite a bit more valuable than Polanco this season, but they were both born in 1975 and Polanco has a much better pre-2009 track record. Toss in the fact that Polanco didn’t require giving up a first-round pick to sign and those differences certainly explain some of the higher price tag.
Losing a top-30 pick hurts given how well Boston has drafted recently, but based solely on the contracts I’d rather have Scutaro. He’ll be paid less than Polanco in each of the next two seasons, at which point the Red Sox can choose to cut bait while the Phillies will be paying a 36-year-old Polanco over $6 million in 2012. And while 2009 was a career-year for Scutaro, his combined .270/.354/.382 line during the past four seasons is fairly similar to the .307/.351/.411 mark produced by Polanco over that same span.
Sending a first-round pick to Toronto for the right to pay Scutaro at least $14 million for two seasons is hardly ideal, but given the weak crop of free-agent shortstops and seemingly sparse trade options Boston did pretty well to land him without assuming as much risk as Philadelphia did with Polanco. How well Scutaro will hit going forward is certainly up for debate, but he’ll be an upgrade regardless after Red Sox shortstops hit just .235/.297/.358 this season.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.