Toronto Baseball Guys
Monday, December 03, 2007
  Scutaro More Than A Super-sub?
The pickup of infielder Marco Scutaro from Oakland, for a pair of minor league pitchers that you've never heard of and will likely never hear of again, has been widely viewed as a move to add bench depth. After all, Scutaro was all over the diamond in 2007, seeing time at second, third, short and even in the outfield.

Look a little closer at Scutaro's offensive numbers, and you can't help but think that he should be in the mix for a shot at the shortstop's job.


G AB AVG OBP SLG
John McDonald 580 1376 .240 .279 .316
Marco Scutaro 551 1650 .259 .320 .384


Granted, neither is going to be making room for a Silver Slugger award anytime soon, but Scutaro is clearly the superior offensive threat. Consider his 7 homers in 2007, versus McDonald's career total of 8. Or the fact that Scutaro has drawn as many as 50 walks in a season, versus McDonald's career total of 64.

McDonald's a nifty little player - he makes some jaw-dropping defensive plays and he does everything he can to contribute on offense. He takes as many pitches as is humanly possible for him, he's an excellent bunter, he'll slap singles the other way, and every so often he'll turn on a first-pitch fastball and send a shallow outfield scrambling.

He gets absolutely everything he can out of his ability, but that adds up to a .595 OPS. Scutaro's is just over .700. Unless he's a total butcher afield, that demands the lion's share of the playing time at short. Since the Jays' bench figures to be a source of strength in 2008 with one of Matt Stairs, Reed Johnson and the occasional Gregg Zaun lying around, it makes sense to have a pair of viable shortstops. On days when McDonald starts, he may only be asked to bat twice before being pinch-hit for in the late innings - almost a National League lineup construction with the Jays treating the shortstop spot like that of the pitcher in the NL.

The Scutaro addition is a good one - if you're not going to spend $27 million a season for an ARod-type upgrade at short, adding 40 points of OBP and a little pop for next to nothing is a canny little move.

 
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