Marco Scutaro testimonials
|12.03.09 at 11:59 pm ET|
With the Red Sox and Marco Scutaro having agreed upon a two-year deal (pending a physical) here are some “get to know your new shortstop” testimonials collected over the last week:
From Blue Jays first base/infield coach Brian Butterfield:
“His hands are as good as any hands I’ve ever coached in major league baseball, and I’ve been in the big leagues for 14 years and I’ve had the opportunity to be around some great infielders,” said Butterfield when appearing on the Mut and Bradford Show, Friday.
“This guy has no panic in his hands and he’s going to catch the ball. He’s very intelligent. He is 34 years old, but he takes great care of himself. He’s got a youthful body and he cares about baseball. A lot of times you look over at the other side of the field and you can see the skill, the arm strength, the running, the quickness, the ability to catch the ball, the ability to get it in the air. But a lot of times as a scout or being on the other side you don’t get a chance to get to know the player. But having had Marco I can assure you he cares about the game, he’s very popular among his teammates, he’s got an infectious personality, his teammates gravitate to him, and he does a lot of things on a baseball that help you win the game.”
Butterfield said that, if given the chance, he would have voted for Scutaro for the American League Gold Glove. Another advocate of Scutaro’s abilities is Blue Jays infielder John McDonald, who came up through the minor leagues with the former second baseman.
“Last year I think he played one of the best shortstops (in baseball) for the first five months, until he hurt his heel,” said McDonald on the Mut and Bradford Show, referencing Scutaro’s battle plantar fasciitis. “He was tremendous playing defense … I thought last year (Scutaro and Gonzalez) were very comparable.”
And, finally, WEEI.com’s own Lou Merloni, who played with Scutaro both in winter ball and in the majors (taken from his Nov. 29 blog entry):
“Now that Alex Gonzalez has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox’ primary target to play shortstop should be Marco Scutaro. As a matter of fact, it should have been Scutaro from the very beginning.
“There has been a lot of talk about how Scutaro is coming off a career year at the age of 33. People are calling his defense “adequate,” saying that Marco is a career utility guy.
“The reality is is that for the first time in his career, he was given the starting job at short, his best defensive position. His defense is ABOVE average at short. If you ask me, the American League Gold Glove should have gone to either Eric Aybar or Marco Scutaro.
“People have no idea how good this kid is because we will always view him as the utility guy for the Oakland A’s. He’s much better than that. I actually don’t see much difference between Scutaro and Alex Gonzalez defensively.
“I’m not talking about the Gonzo from 2006 — that was one of the best defensive seasons I have ever seen. I’m talking about the 2009 version of Alex Gonzalez.
“I’ve played against Scutaro for years, in the minor leagues and the big leagues. I’ve always been amazed that no team ever gave him a shot to start. Now the price for his services may be a three-year deal, but as Sox fans, I thought that we were more concerned with getting the better player.
“Scutaro is a more complete shortstop than Alex Gonzalez. He’ll come at a higher price. But what do you care how much money the Sox dish out? You’re not paying it.”
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