Well-traveled Scutaro 'would love to' re-sign with Giants


Well-traveled Scutaro 'would love to' re-sign with Giants

DENVER Marco Scutaros first 48 hours as a Giant were abit curious.

Immediately following the July 27 trade from Colorado,Scutaro didnt react with apparent glee to be leaping in the standings andjoining a contender. He even told Rockies reporters that he hoped to re-signwith Colorado after the season.

I want to be a part of this, Scutaro told the Denver Postat the time. I think they are going to be pretty good pretty soon.

When Scutaro finally dropped his black and purple equipmentbag at AT&T Park the following day, he seemed more dazed and confused thananything else. He didnt seem overly excited to be a Giant.

Well, 44 games later, all of that is a distant memory.Scutaro has been an engaging, energizing presence while his major league best 94percent contact rate on strikes has made him a perfect fit in the No. 2 spot fora team that must score runs without relying on the longball.

Scutaro will turn 37 next month, but the Giants haveabsolutely no internal options in the system to play second base next season.Theyll need someone to mind the position for another year, maybe two, beforeJoe Panik is likely to be ready.

No surprise, but Im told that the Giants will make everyeffort to re-sign Scutaro after this season. His age is not much of a concern;actually, the Giants see the benefits of having a seasoned presence amid aninfield that is on the young and green side.

But what does Scutaro think of the Giants now?

I would love to come back here, he told me. I really loveit here. There are great fans, its a great place to play. More important, itsa place where you have a chance to win every year.

Scutaro even said he would be willing to re-sign during theshort window of exclusivity after the season and before hed hit the openmarket. He isnt looking to shop his services as much as to find a place tocall home.

And really, that explains his confusion in those initialdays as a Giant. Nobody likes to live out of a suitcase, and Scutaro hascollected too many stickers on his steamer trunk over the years. Despiteplaying smart, hard and doing the little things to contribute to a winningenvironment over his career, Scutaro is playing for his sixth major league teamin 11 seasons.

The Giants are his eighth big league organization, actually.He was on the move even before making his big league debut with the Mets as a26-year-old in 2002.

Remember that big Richie Sexson trade? Scutaro said. Iwas the player to be named later.

Scutaro originally signed with the Cleveland Indians, wentto Milwaukees minor league system in the seven-play Sexson trade and then theMets plucked him off the waiver wire. A year later, the As did the same thing.He found a home in Oakland for four seasons before a trade sent him to theToronto Blue Jays.

Even when Scutaro finally got to choose his destination,signing a three-year deal with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2009 season, heended up changing uniforms again. The Red Sox dealt him to Colorado this pastoffseason.

So you could understand why Scutaro might have felt a bitdisillusioned to be packing his bags last July. The Venezuelan native wasedging a bit farther from his family, too. They live in Miami. He hasnt seenthem since the trade, he said.

Even in Triple-A, it was hard going to a new place,Scutaro said. When you get traded, its going to hit you for a couple days. Ittakes awhile to settle in, like youre going to a new school. You have to makefriends again.

He did that in short order, and not only in the Giants clubhouse.With a .341 average, .808 OPS and 30 RBIs in 44 games, hes made tens ofthousands of new friends in the stands at AT&T Park, many of whom haverevived chanting his name from those days in Oakland.

And lest anyone forget, Scutaro saved the Giants byvolunteering to play third base while Pablo Sandoval was on the disabled list,even though he hadnt played an inning at the position since 2008.

I asked a Giants official why a talented, winning player like Scutaro has moved so much throughout his career. He thought on it for awhile, and offered an interesting answer: Scutaro has played for a lot of American League teams that rely on the longball. It's here, with the Giants, where his skills as a run manufacturer and contact man have the greatest value and can be put to the greatest use.

With free agency on the horizon, Scutaro said he is onlythinking about wrapping up an NL West title and returning to the postseason. Hehasnt reached the playoffs since 2006, when he was 1 for 15 and the As lostin the division series to Detroit.

He hopes for a better finish this time. And a chance tounpack his bags.

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez Wednesday. Here's what they and their peers are saying.


Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

The Baseball Hall of Fame becomes yesterday’s news Friday, as it always does. Three months of buildup, one day to announce the names, one day to castigate the voters for their willfully negligent slights, and then nine months of hibernation.

So much for the concept of “joining the immortals.”

But at least Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez never have to go through this annual pageant of nonsense again.

Barry Bonds does, though, and so does Roger Clemens, and to a lesser extent, so does Curt Schilling. They are the new litmus strips for the Hall, and they will more than replace Raines (voter ignorance division) and Bagwell (presumption of guilt with evidence division) for self-involved debate.

And in that adjusted role from doomed outsiders to serious candidates, Bonds and Clemens – and to a lesser extent again, Schilling – have become invaluable to the Hall, and their eventual election and induction will reduce the Hall’s ability to inflame passions outside the seamhead community.

On a day when Bagwell and Raines finally cleared the 75 percent threshold and Bonds and Clemens moved from 45 percent to 53.8 and 54.1 percent, respectively, the Hall of Fame Debating And Chowder Society saw the end times for its power as a multi-month debate-churner.

The blatherers are dead, long live the blatherers.

An entire mini-industry of Hall watchers has been spawned, in part by the now-feted Ryan Thibodaux and his exit polling but also by the debates about what the Hall should be and who should get to decide it. It has made days like Wednesday event viewing when it hadn’t been for years. For that, the Hall owes Bonds and Clemens a debt that the powers inside Major League Baseball wishes it didn’t have to pay. But the day they are inducted is the day that PEDs die as a debating point. The answer will have been provided, and there will be no more need for discussion.

Worse yet, the BBWAA’S new voter transparency rules may unfortunately impact our pal Thibodaux, whose seminal work in this understudied area of social science undermined ballot secrecy. In short, if everyone has to fess up, the desperate need to know early returns may dry up.

Oh, there will always be the day of post mortem-ization, as those who didn’t clear the threshold are subject to a few rounds of the popular parlor game, “Who Got Snubbed, And The Tedious And Half-Informed Reasons Why.”

For instance, the big debating point from today’s results will not be about Raines and Guerrero getting in, but what happened to the Bonds and Clemens votes. People have already postulated that a lot of the jump in their respective votes can be directly linked to Bud Selig’s election from the Veterans Committee. Voters who had previously ridden the Hall-as-temple argument suddenly lost their raison d’etre and realized that the PED problem was an industry matter rather than a greedy players’ matter.

In short, they saw Selig getting in as tacit approval that the PED issue was no longer a moral one in baseball but a cynical one, a way to blame labor for management’s culpability. That is an irony whose existence Selig will almost surely deny, but it’s there anyway, and it represents one more non-glacial change in a system that has been nearly immovable for most of its existence.

The next change, of course, may be removing the vote from the BBWAA and turning it over to a more malleable panel of “experts” who may not skew as young and values-neutral as the BBWAA of the future seems to be heading. That course may be hastened if/when Bonds and Clemens are elected, because halls of fame in their more traditional role have been more about rewarding friends and punishing enemies, and a large and shifting electorate makes that harder to accomplish.

The argument against such a course, though, is that the current system of three months of fevered public debate about the same old stuff works for the Hall’s sense of its importance. I mean, MLB Network and its fetish for shrill argument only has so much reach.

By Friday, though, all of this will revert to its typically inert state. Bonds, Clemens (ATALE Schilling), PEDs, morality, practicality, secrecy, old voter/young voter – all of it will fade back into insignificance.

And in a year or two or maybe three, Bonds and Clemens will wipe it all out by being included in the one club that we once knew would never tolerate their presence, and the Hall Of Fame’s Golden Age Of Shrieking Argument will end.

In a weird and largely unpleasant way, it will be missed.