By Scott Barzilla

Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies for Clayton Mortensen. If you haven’t heard of Mortensen, don’t feel bad. He likely won’t be a part of the Red Sox plans this year anyway. For many in the industry this was a curious move for the Red Sox, but the deal will make a lot more sense when we find out what they are doing to follow it up. First, let’s take a look at what each team was thinking.

Colorado Rockies

For the Rockies this was simple. They get a regular second baseman in exchange for a fringe arm. Mortensen does have options left, so he could have played in Colorado Springs and waited for a turn at the rotation, but having someone to man second was a lot more important. The move almost completes their work for the postseason and they only have a hole at third and that holes has potential plugs.

Scutaro used to be a second baseman before moving to shortstop back in 2009. He was an average shortstop defensively, so there is a fair to midland chance that he will be a plus impact defensive second baseman. More importantly, he brings solid on base skills to the table, so he will likely be a nice fit in the two hole. That allows the big hitters like Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Michael Cuddyer more opportunities to drive in runs.

Boston Red Sox

Clayton Mortensen is a decent enough young arm, but he was not the reason for this deal. Marco Scutaro is set to earn six million next season. An organization that found it within themselves to give Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett huge extensions and sign Carl Crawford to a ridiculous contract suddenly has to pinch pennies. It is clear that this move is the predecessor for another move. Before we can grade this move we have to see what that move is going to be.

This is where wild speculation begins. The most logical next move would be for the Red Sox to add a starting pitcher. They have supposedly been in contact with Roy Oswalt all winter. According to industry sources, he is seeking a one year contract for around eight million. The six million that the Red Sox just cleared would seem to go a long way in satisfying those demands.

Of course, the situation would not be so interesting if there were not other rumors. Some people have connected them with the White Sox for Gavin Floyd. Financially that would be about the same investment with the only obstacle being satisfying Ken Williams’ demands. If past trades are any indication, that shouldn’t be incredibly difficult.

Finally, there is wild speculation reported by mlbtraderumors that the Red Sox might be interested in Hanley Ramirez. The oddity is that Ramirez was traded to Florida for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Ramirez’s value is about as low as it can possibly get. Unfortunately, the Red Sox don’t have a lot of pitching to offer the Marlins, so Oswalt and Floyd are the better bets at this point.

Who wins the deal?

This one is almost too easy. It is sad to see how the Red Sox got into such a predicament. In order to fill out a rotation they had to trade a solid regular. Well, give Dan O’Dowd some credit for taking advantage of the Red Sox misfortune. The Rockies have somehow managed to go through the offseason and fill almost all of their holes. Casey Blake may be the answer at third base and if he is then the Rockies could be the surprise team of the NL West.

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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