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3 Quick Thoughts on Red Sox Trade of Marco Scutaro

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The Boston Red Sox have shipped Marco Scutaro – and his $6 million contract – off to Colorado for pitcher Clayton Mortensen.

This move is a salary dump.

The Red Sox say they see Mortensen as competing for a spot in the starting rotation. But nothing in his past performance – lifetime MLB record: 4-8, 5.12 ERA – says he can play that role.

The Red Sox are Mortensen’s fourth organization in his brief career.

Here are three quick thoughts on the trade:

Scutaro

The Red Sox have the reputation as having a bright, forward-thinking front office – but something slipped here.

It was only last October when Boston picked up Scutaro’s $6 million option. And their need for pitching was apparent then – with the team’s September collapse fresh in their minds.

Fast forward three months and the Red Sox can’t afford Scutaro and more pitching.

What’s changed? Boston hasn’t signed any new, big contract players.

Why did they extend Scutaro if they needed budget resources elsewhere?

Red Sox Shortstop

Mike Aviles and Nick Punto will carry the load at shortstop for the Red Sox in 2012 – at least that’s the plan right now.

So much for Aviles chipping in as a righty bat in the outfield.

Aviles has not been an everyday shortstop since 2008. Punto has never been an everyday shortstop – and he played eight games there last season.

I am not worried about the offense they will contribute – the Red Sox lineup will continue to score plenty of runs to win.

It’s the defense. While Scutaro was no Gold Glover – he was steady in the field. (Not to mention, one of the team’s gritty players – on a team that quit down the stretch last season.)

And Aviles and Punto are keeping the position warm until Jose Iglesias is ready.

To date, Iglesias has only shown himself to be a modern day Mark Belanger – great field, no hit.

Iglesias has disappeared from the MLB.com top shortstop prospect list and Baseball America’s top ten Red Sox prospects.

Starting Pitching

How will the Red Sox use this new-found budget room to help the pitching staff? Here are some possibilities:

Brandon McCarthy – My choice. Oakland has been having a fire sale. McCarthy is in line for a salary boost through arbitration and then free agency after the season. The Red Sox should see if Billy Beane is still open for business.

Edwin JacksonScott Boras has not been able to land the big long-term deal for Jackson. Will he go the Ryan Madson (and Adrian Beltre) route and sign a one-year deal to demonstrate his value? Even if he does, Jackson still may be out of the Red Sox price range.

Gavin Floyd – Consistently an innings eater. The White Sox are rebuilding so he may be available. Would be a solid addition.

Roy Oswalt – Over his career, an excellent pitcher. He’s getting old and last year had a bad back. Boston has two cranky backs in the rotation already (Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz). I would pass on him.

Which starting pitcher do you think the Red Sox should go after? Or does Boston have enough pitching and should grab a righty hitting outfielder like Cody Ross?

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