Troy Renck of the Denver Post is reporting that a deal between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies that would send shortstop Marco Scutaro to Colorado has been completed. Pitcher Clayton Mortensen is heading to the Red Sox in the deal.
The Rockies have been hunting an infielder all winter. They were closely tied to Martin Prado of the Atlanta Braves, before that proposed deal fell apart. Seth Smith, who was the key component rumored to be heading to Atlanta, was dealt to Oakland last week. Colorado won’t be using Scutaro at short, due to the presence of their All-Star Troy Tulowitzki. It’s assumed that Scutaro will be playing second base for the Rockies. Last season for the Red Sox, the 36 year-old Scutaro had a line of .299/.358/.423, which was an improvement over his first season in Boston, when he hit just .275/.333/.388. However, he played in just 113 games last season, down from 150 in 2010.
If the deal happens, it looks like Boston will be handing the shortstop position to 22 year-old Jose Iglesias, signed out of Cuba in 2009 with a $6 million signing bonus attached to his major league contract. Iglesias is an excellent defender, but is lacking with the bat. Last season for AAA Pawtucket, he hit just .235/.285/.269 in 101 games. Boston’s other primary shortstop in 2011, Jed Lowrie, was dealt to the Astros as part of the Mark Melancon deal this winter. Lowrie hit .252/.303/.382 for Boston last season. Lowrie and Scutaro combined to amass -6 DRS at short last season, which should easily be surpassed by Iglesias. Mark ranked Iglesias in the “good” category in his ranking of the top Red Sox prospects.
Scutaro would replace the duo of Mark Ellis and Jonathan Herrera for the Rockies at second, neither of whom were good offensively. Ellis had a .274/.317/.392 line in 286 plate appearances, while Herrera was at .242/.313/.299 in 320 plate appearances. Ellis signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Herrera is still a member of the Rockies. As for Mortensen, he looks like an organizational arm after posting a 9.42 ERA in 64 innings at AAA Colorado Springs this past season, and a 3.86 ERA in 58 1/3 innings for the Rockies. Between the two levels, he struck out 84 while walking 53.
This move reeks of a salary dump for the Red Sox, as they didn’t get much in return and pretty much just cleared the position for a prospect in 2012. I think they’ll really miss the offense that Scutaro gave the position last saeson, and if Iglesias’s defense isn’t as good as advertised, this deal could turn south real quick.
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