Monday, November 30, 2009

Playing Marco Polo in the Dwindling Shortstop Pool

Well, I'm glad the Sox settled the shortstop question quickly and easily, providing some sort of continuity at a position that's had steady of stream of different warm bodies for far too long. Wait, just kidding.

Now that Gonzalez is definitely out of the picture for 2010, removing another possibility from a market both weak in options and rapidly tightening as the month has progressed, we've got a run at Marco Scutaro to look forward to. As Fire Brand of the American League points out in a slightly convoluted metaphor, Scutaro might have finally hit whatever summit he's going to have in his baseball career - his splits for 2009 were .282/.379/.409, far above his career totals of .265/.337/.384 - but that'll make him far too popular for those teams in need. In other words, expect Boston to overpay, quite possibly with a contract that'll keep Scutaro around for a year or two too long, because they don't have the leverage.

I'd be really happy if this deal works out to Boston's advantage, but I suspect we're in for something closer to the Renteria deal, with a bit higher of an upside: Scutaro hits well enough for a year, but tails off in 2011 (when he turns 35) and turns into dead-weight trade bait that the Sox dump for minor leaguers who never make a big contribution. Jed Lowrie, meanwhile, remains haunted by the after-effects of his broken wrist and never blossoms into the player we've stopped expecting him to become.