Oakland trades Scutaro to Toronto to free up playing time for Murphy
The 32-year-old Scutaro did a fabulous job filling in for both second baseman Mark Ellis and shortstop Bobby Crosby when they were hurt in recent seasons. But the A's, who missed the playoffs in 2007 after reaching the AL Championship Series last year, want to give Donnie Murphy a chance to be a utility infielder.
"We decided to go in a different direction with that position," A's assistant general manager David Forst said. "We like Donnie Murphy a lot. Marco's obviously been great here. We wouldn't have accomplished what we did the last three or four years without him. I hope it's a good opportunity for him. We got a couple of good young arms. For us it was a chance to get some other guys in there."
Murphy, 24, has played parts of three seasons in the majors, his first two with the Kansas City Royals in 2004 and '05. This year for the A's, he batted .220 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 42 games. He also had eight doubles and drew 10 walks.
Forst added that if Crosby and Ellis stay healthy in 2008, the backup job that could be Murphy's would be a "true utility role."
Bell and Godfrey, both 23, are likely to compete for jobs at Double-A Midland.
Bell went 3-7 with a 5.33 ERA in 22 appearances and 11 starts for Single-A Dunedin last season. Godfrey had a 6-7 record and 3.98 ERA in 21 starts for Single-A Lansing in his first year of professional ball.
"It's no secret we need an injection of talent in the minor leagues," Forst said. "We have good scouting reports on both of them. They throw up to 93-94 and could compete for jobs in Double-A."
Scutaro, who developed quite the knack for game-winning hits during his four years with the A's, batted .260 with seven home runs and 41 RBIs in 104 games this past season. He made 86 starts at five different positions, including 38 at shortstop, 33 at third base, 12 at second base, two in right field and one in left field.
Only six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez (512) has appeared in more games than Scutaro (476) since Scutaro joined the A's in 2004.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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