The solid play of Marco Scutaro in 2011 made it a certainty that the Red Sox would pick up his $6 million option for 2012. The decision is made even easier by Jed Lowrie’s inability to stay healthy, as well as Jose Iglesias’ inability to hit AAA pitching. While the latter might change, it doesn’t seem like the former ever will, and Lowrie will always be a “10th man” type of player.
Keeping in mind the fact that Scutaro celebrated his 36th birthday yesterday, the Sox will need to brace themselves for the inevitable plummit in productivity which may or may not occur next season. The easy approach would be to use a loose RHP/LHP platoon with Lowrie, who hits left-hand pitching very well. A more bold approach would be to kick the tires on free-agent superstar Jose Reyes, shop Lowrie, and use Scutaro as a utility infielder. This, of course, is less likely.
- In relation to my Reyes note above, the worst possible effect of the John Lackey / Carl Crawford contracts would be Red Sox management and ownership becoming irrationally gun shy on the free agent market. Even ignoring the strong possibility that Crawford turns things around next season, there have been many, many success stories resulting from teams taking on long-term risk in free agency. Consider where the Yankees would have been without C.C. Sabathia over the past few years, or the Cardinals without Matt Holliday. Or, the 2004-2007 Red Sox without one Manuel Aristides Ramirez. We can only hope that Ben Cherington isn’t the reactionary type.
- The Sox begin interviewing candidates for the manager role today, starting with Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin. My early wager is on DeMarlo Hale being promoted internally, but I suppose a lot of that will depend on the scope of the political fallout (if any) from Terry Francona’s departure.