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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marco Scutaro Will Return To Boston In 2012


It will take years to get over the fallout from the 2010 season for the Boston Red Sox. However, at some point we all have to begin to move on.

Today was a start as the team made its first roster decision regarding one of its more notable free agents: shortstop Marco Scutaro will be back in 2012 as the Red Sox picked up his $6 million dollar team option.

There's a very short list of players that were completely unscathed by the 7-20 September. Alfredo Aceves, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon and Scutaro were from my point of view, the only players that seemed to consistently care about the results and/or put up strong individual performances admist all the Popeye's and beer stained drama.

Scutaro hit a career-best .299 for the 2011 season with seven homers and 54 RBIs. He also put up a .358 OBP with .423 slugging percentage, both career-highs. If that's not enough, he hit .387 in September which was third best in the American League.

Although Scutaro turned 36 on Sunday (shameless plug, my birthday too), he should be dependable next season (3rd in Boston, 11th in MLB) as well. Fingers crossed that Boston finally pulls the plug on the Jed Lowrie experiment (too injury prone, inconsistent, terrible defensively) while they wait for 21-year-old Jose Iglesias to learn how to become a better hitter in Pawtucket. His defense is MLB-ready, he just has no prayer at the plate right now.

The Red Sox have to decide before Monday night about a $3 million dollar team option on reliever Dan Wheeler (I think they'll let him go).

Eight other players: Erik Bedard (ha), J.D. Drew (haha), Conor Jackson (yeah right), Trever Miller (nope), David Ortiz (probably), Papelbon (most likely), Jason Varitek (please no) and Tim Wakefield (see Varitek) became free agents today and Boston has until Thursday at 12:01 a.m. to exclusively negotiate with them.

In other Red Sox news, they'll start interviewing manger candidates this week. First up, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers hitting coach (and former Red Sox third base coach) Dale Sveum. Granted, Terry Francona wasn't a big name when he got the job in 2004 but at least he had MLB managerial experience in Philadelphia before he took over in this pressure cooker. Please tell me they can do better than these bums.

UPDATE 10/31: The Red Sox declined to exercise Wheeler's option and he's a Type B free agent. Pap and Ortiz are Type A free agents, meaning that if they leave Boston receives a first-round pick and a sandwich pick from the club that signs them. If you lose a Type B free agent, you get a sandwich pick. Boston also declined an option on reliever Scott Atchison but he remains on the 40-man roster. You know he'll be back, making 50 trips between the Red Sox and PawSox next season and for the rest of his playing career.




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