I really hope Theo Epstein proves all of us wrong about Marco Scutaro.
The Red Sox's general manager has tried so hard to replace shortstop Nomar Garciaparra since his departure in 2004. And he's done that -- kind of. But he hasn't had anyone that has stuck.
Orlando Cabrera was a nice temporary solution in '04. Alex Gonzalez was very solid in his 2006 stint and especially in his resurrection in 2009. But there hasn't been a staple at the shortstop position since Mr. Nomar and now, with Scutaro, what are Sox fans supposed to expect?By no means is Scutaro supposed to be that staple. Scutaro is 34 years old who is riding a reported two-year contract with a mutual option for a third. That means we could have a 36-year-old shortstop with one good year on our hands by the end of 2012.
Don't y'all jump for joy at the same time.
Theo is praying for lightning to strike twice. Theo is praying that Jose Iglesias becomes the shortstop that everyone thinks he could be. Theo is hoping that Scutaro plays all right. Nothing more. Just all right.
To put it simply, Scutaro is a stopgap. Scutaro will most likely be an average offensive shortstop while manning the position defensively to the same degree. Iglesias is the important piece here. Iglesias is the only player that's anywhere close to being Boston's "Next Nomar."
We can't really blame Theo for signing Scutaro. There weren't a lot of great options out there with a '6' penciled in next to their name in the scorecard. It would have taken a lot to acquire a shortstop via trade, and the pickings in the free agent market were about as good as buying a fresh tomato at a farmers' market in December: all of them are bruised, damaged and have their flaws, but in the end, you have to pick one.
But now he's here and we have to root for him because that's what we do. After two World Series championships and a plethora of other reasons, we just need to sit back and trust Theo. We must trust him that he has signed a capable shortstop to help lead the Sox to another World Series trophy. We must trust him that he sees something in Scutaro that maybe the rest of us do not see. We must trust Theo because, pretty much, that's our only option.
Marco, welcome to Boston. Your first task: prove us wrong. Please prove us wrong as quickly and effectively as possible.