Per Andrew Baggarly’s twitter feed:
A couple of thoughts …
First, it’s really hard to not like this move from the Giants’ perspective. The team has had middle infield troubles all season long and bringing in Marco Scutaro helps to round things out. When Scutaro is playing well, he’s a versatile player that can play around the diamond – 3B, SS, and 2B – while getting on base. This season, Scutaro is batting .271/.324/.359 while playing half his games in Coors Field. Using weighted runs created plus (wRC+) that works out to a score of 77, which isn’t overly impressive. However, Scutaro does have a track record – career wRC+ of 93 – of being better on offense. So expecting something of a slight bounce-back isn’t crazy.
Maybe more importantly is that Scutaro should displace – or entirely replace – guys like Joaquin Arias (67 wRC+) and Emmanuel Burriss (38). For a team with playoff aspirations, you just can’t keep starting guys like Joaquin Arias and Emmanuel Burriss; you just can’t do it. At the moment, I imagine that the Giants will use Scutaro at third base until Pablo recovers from his latest injury and then decide where to play him.
The Scutaro move is something I wanted to see happen during the offseason. Better late than never, I guess.
Second, it’s hard to see Charlie Culberson playing in the majors in a significant role. He was never a prospect that I was very high on. He’s young – only 23 – and scouts tend to like portions of his game, but his career strikeout-to-walk numbers in the minor leagues – 509 to 144 – hint at a player that won’t be able to hit in the major leagues. And it’s not like Culberson has had a fantastic season this year in Triple-A Fresno, he’s currently OPS’ing .677 in the PCL. That batting line is far below the league average.
According to ZiPS, Scutaro’s rest-of-season batting slash projects at .282/.341/.402 – I’m not sure if that’s adjusted for Coors Field or not, but even if it is, it’s beyond anything Arias or Burriss could ever produce.
So, if you can’t tell, I like this deal – a lot. The Giants protect themselves a little in the infield and add depth at the same time. Scutaro is more of a 2B these days, but he fake SS in a pinch and could see some time at 3B while Sandoval is recovering. The price for Scutaro was right and the Giants improved themselves. Scutaro isn’t a game-changer, but he helps to steady the roster. Good deal.