|Notes and Observations Week 11: Defense Leads Battered Patriots to Victory Over Bills 20-13||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win Despite Cannon’s Assassination Attempt on Brady||Patriots and Bills Set To Do Battle on Monday Night Football||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots vs. Rex|
To kick off the offseason transactions, the Red Sox announced they will exercise their $6 million option on Marco Scutaro for the upcoming season, even though his role as a shortstop might not be clearly defined quite yet with Jed Lowrie also getting time at the position. Now 35 years of age, Scutaro is expected to share time at shortstop with both Lowrie and Jose Iglesias, who should get more experience at the major league level in 2012 than the brief 10 games he had this past season.
In 2011, Scutaro played 113 games, hitting a terrific .299 and playing solid defense at shortstop. New, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington establishes himself with the team by carrying out the transaction. It should be interesting to see how Cherington’s approach to free agency this offseason compares to that of Theo Epstein, especially after a season where the Red Sox were coming off of one of their most impressive winters by acquiring both Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.
Bringing back Scutaro is probably necessary, as he is a solid defensive player at multiple infield positions who has had lots of offensive success at the shortstop position. While the price is high at $6 million for a player who may end up being a backup for the majority of the season depending on the success of Lowrie, I think that the certainty of how Scutaro can perform in Boston and on this team makes him a better option than the Sox pursuing a free agent like Clint Barmes or old friend Alex Gonzalez. Look for Scutaro to have another solid season in 2012 and get plenty of playing time in the infield.
The Red Sox announced Monday that they declined contract options for relievers Dan Wheeler and Scott Atchison.
The 33-year-old Wheeler projects as a Type B free agent. He had a 4.38 ERA over 49.1 innings last season.
Atchison, meanwhile, spent much of the year in the minors.
Both players may end up re-signing in Boston.