Scutaro joins Red Sox on 2-year deal

Updated: December 4, 2009, 5:23 PM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- The Boston Red Sox signed free-agent shortstop Marco Scutaro to a two-year contract Friday, the team announced.

Scutaro, who played for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, apparently satisfied Boston's concerns about his health after he worked out for the club Tuesday and the team examined his medical records. He is expected to sign after passing a physical in Boston.

Scutaro receives a $1 million signing bonus and a $5 million salary in 2010 and 2011, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney. The third year carries options of $6 million (team) and $3 million (Scutaro), with a buyout of $1.5 million.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported Scutaro worked out near his Miami home for Red Sox executive Allard Baird. It's believed the workout helped alleviate some concerns the Red Sox had over a plantar fasciitis issue in Scutaro's right heel that kept him out the final two weeks of the 2009 season. Sources involved in the negotiations confirmed comments made by Scutaro that the Red Sox had examined his medical records.

Because of Scutaro's Type A free-agency status, the Red Sox will give up a first-round pick to the Blue Jays. But Boston gets the selection back, thanks to its own Type A free agent, Billy Wagner, signing with the Braves on Wednesday.

Scutaro figures to be Boston's everyday shortstop next season, replacing Alex Gonzalez, who signed with Toronto last week. But the possibility also exists that shortstop Jed Lowrie will make a recovery from the wrist problems that limited him to 32 games last season, giving the Sox the option of using the versatile Scutaro as a Tony Phillips-like reserve.

The Venezuelan-born Scutaro, who began his big league career with the Mets in 2002, played four seasons in Oakland as an infield utilityman primarily used at second base, then had a career year with the Blue Jays in 2009, his first as an everyday shortstop. The 34-year-old hit .282 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs, and his .379 on-base percentage was third among shortstops in the American League.

By limiting their commitment to Scutaro to two years (and an option), the Red Sox are making way for Cuban phenom Jose Iglesias, who turns 20 on Jan. 5, to inherit the position.

Scutaro, assuming he opens the 2010 season at shortstop, will become the seventh player since 2003 to be the team's opening day shortstop. Nomar Garciaparra (2003), Pokey Reese (2004), Edgar Renteria (2005), Alex Gonzalez (2006), Julio Lugo (2007 and 2008) and Lowrie (2009) preceded Scutaro. That list doesn't include Orlando Cabrera, who came in the 2004 trading-deadline deal for Garciaparra and played a key role in the team's World Series title run, then was allowed to leave as a free agent.

Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. Follow him on Twitter.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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