For the nostalgic Blue Jays fan, Vol. 4: Marco Scutaro
By Evan Stack2 months ago
This week’s former Blue Jay is Marco Scutaro spent two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays from 2008-09. While he didn’t have the “break-out-on-his-fourth-team” energy like Joey Bats and Edwin Encarnacion, Scutaro’s time in Toronto put his name on the MLB scene as a very productive utility bat.
He posted career-best numbers in 2009 with the Jays, earning him a pay upgrade in free agency. His departure also created a branch to the Blue Jays roster tree that led to the selection of a very familiar name to Blue Jays fans now.
Born in Venezuela, Scutaro was signed as an amateur free agent in 1994 by the then-Cleveland Indians. His career was slow-developing; he spent time in the Indians and Brewers organization before making his major league debut until 2002 as a member of the New York Mets.
Even with the Mets, Scutaro still saw limited action, but it was his next stop in which he got a taste of being an every-day player. Scutaro was grabbed off waivers by the Oakland A’s in 2003, and would go on to play four years there.
On November 18, 2007, Scutaro was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a couple of pitching prospects. Going into the following season, the Blue Jays used Scutaro much like they used Breyvic Valera in 2021: a bench bat who could fill in at multiple infield positions if need be.
On the depth chart, Scutaro was behind names such as David Eckstein, Aaron Hill, and newly acquired third baseman Scott Rolen. In other words, playing time for Scutaro was likely to be limited.
The injury bug bit the Blue Jays before the 2008 season, as Rolen fractured his middle finger, requiring a screw to be put in place to hold it together, setting him out for several weeks. Scutaro served as his replacement at third until Rolen got the all clear to return. Later in the year, Scutaro replaced Hill at second base after Hill collided with Eckstein on a pop up fly ball.
Scutaro was the defensive savior of the ’08 season, playing six different positions. While his solid play in the field came up clutch, his bat began to turn a corner as well. Scutaro wound up playing in 145 games, posting a .267 average with 7 home runs and 60 RBIs. His average, RBIs, and his .697 OPS were career bests for him at the time, giving the Blue Jays a productive utility man going forward.
One of his signature plays with Toronto was this beautiful 4-6-3 putout against the Yankees on July 11, 2008. Scutaro fielded a ground ball from Wilson Betemit, flipped it to John McDonald, who then threw to Lyle Overbay at first to complete the out. To throw a little more nostalgia at you, that game was a CG 2-hitter from Roy Halladay. Also, yep, that’s Jamie Campbell and Pat Tabler on the call.
Late in the 2008 season, the Blue Jays dealt Eckstein to the D’backs, opening the door for Scutaro at short. He would go into the 2009 season as the starting shortstop for the Blue Jays. During that season, Scutaro topped his ’08 performance in almost every category.
His 2009 line was a .282 average, .789 OPS, and a 108 OPS+. His 12 home runs that year ended up being his career high, as well as the 90 walks he was able to draw.
At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Scutaro elected free agency, granting Toronto a compensation pick. Coincidentally, this pick was used to take RHP Aaron Sanchez in the first round of the 2010 MLB draft. The Red Sox ended up signing Scutaro to a two-year deal worth $11 million.
Scutaro bounced around a little more (Boston to Colorado), and he was dealt to the San Francisco Giants in 2012 in exchange for another utility man in Charlie Culberson. It was in SanFran that Scutaro experienced the most success of his career. He was an All-Star in 2013, the MVP of the NLCS in 2012, as well a World Series champ in 2012.
That 2012 World Series featured Scutaro’s tie-breaking RBI single in the 10th inning of Game 4 against the Detroit Tigers, finishing off the sweep.
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Uniquely enough, Scutaro would lead the National League in multiple categories during his 2012 stint: sacrifice flies (9), singles (147), and at-bats per strikeout (12.7).
After a couple more seasons with the Giants, Scutaro underwent back surgery in 2014. He was released from the team in January of 2015, but was resigned just a few months later. This move was not to throw him out on the diamond, rather than ending his career with a DFA transaction, Scutaro could finish rehabbing his back, and retire as a Giant.
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