Friday, December 4, 2009 at 10:58PM
By Alec Radzikowski, TheSportsHatch.com managing editor
Theo Epstein must be sleeping a bit easier this weekend.
The Red Sox GM filled a significant need after the official signing of Marco Scutaro today. The seven-year veteran is coming off a career year in offensive categories including batting (.282), on-base percentage (.379), hits (162), home runs (12), runs (100), and walks (90).
Scutaro donned the No. 16 at his press conference, last worn by Edgar Renteria, another free agent shortstop acquisition Epstein would most certainly like to forget.
But this signing seems nothing like the Renteria mess of 2005. First, Scutaro took less money to come here. Renteria went for top-dollar at the time and Epstein repeated that mistake with Julio Lugo in 2007. Scutaro also gave the impression he really wants to play in Boston. Renteria seemed uncomfortable from the start.
It certainly doesn't hurt that Scutaro can also play second and third base, can hit at the top of the order (although he'll bat 9th for the Red Sox) and brings a confidence to a market pretty much needed on a everyday basis.
"You get to a point where you just want to live the experience, just want to be in the World Series, just want to win the ring," Scutaro said."I think this is the perfect team to do that."
Some might view Scutaro as a one-year wonder, but Epstein isn't one of them.
"Marco is somebody who grinds his at-bats, sees a ton of pitches, is a pest up there, does all the little things," Epstein said. "He's someone you can hit and run with, someone you can trust in a big at bat. He hits good pitching, hits the ball to all fields, his power is to the pull side, which should play well at Fenway Park."
The Scutaro signing was among a handful of deals this week, including the Atlanta Braves' signings of RP Billy Wagner and RP Takashi Saito to 1 year deals. Placido Polanco signed with the Philadephia Phillies for 3 yr./$18 million. There are also reports of Chone Figgins being very close to signing a 4 yr. deal with the Seattle Mariners.