Scutaro headed to Beantown
As soon as Marco Scutaro qualified as a Type A free agent, it appeared extremely unlikely that he would return to the Blue Jays this offseason. On Thursday night, Scutaro agree to terms on a two-year contract with the Red Sox, according to an industry source.
With Scutaro headed to Toronto’s American League East rivals in Boston, the Jays are now in line to receive a pair of compensatory picks in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Toronto gains a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds and — unless the Red Sox sign a higher-ranking free agent this winter — the Jays also gain a first-round pick from Boston.
It is fair to assume that the Blue Jays did not anticipate Scutaro developing into a Type A free agent when the club acquired him in a trade with Oakland in November of 2007. Toronto sent Minor League pitchers Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell to the A’s for Scutaro, who was intended to be a super sub off the bench for the Jays.
Scutaro wound up playing 289 games in his two season with the Jays. Last winter, Toronto went looking for a shortstop, trying to land Rafael Furcal. When the hunt came up empty, the Jays handed the full-time role to Scutaro not knowing what to expect. In the first full-time role of his career, Scutaro thrived.
He drew 90 walks against 75 strikeouts in 2009, posting a .282 average with a .379 on-base while playing on a sore right heel for two months toward the end of the year. Scutaro belted 12 homers, swiped 14 bases, drove in 60 RBIs and crossed home plate 100 times — all while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense.
The Blue Jays discussed a two-year contract extension with Scutaro, but he wanted to test the waters this winter. It’s a thin market for shortstops, so coming off a career year, he was in a prime position to capitalize. Toronto signed shortstops Alex Gonzalez and John McDonald, knowing Scutaro’s departure was pretty much a given.
But, the Jays get two picks for Scutaro and will likely get another sandwich pick if Rod Barajas declines arbitration and signs with a new team as expected. That would give Toronto nine picks within the first three rounds, and that’s not something new GM Alex Anthopoulos is going to complain about.