DENVERMarco Scutaros first 48 hours as a Giant were abit curious.
Immediately following the July 27 trade from Colorado,Scutaro didnt react with apparent glee to be leaping in the standings andjoining a contender. He even told Rockies reporters that he hoped to re-signwith Colorado after the season.
I want to be a part of this, Scutaro told the Denver Postat the time. I think they are going to be pretty good pretty soon.
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When Scutaro finally dropped his black and purple equipmentbag at AT&T Park the following day, he seemed more dazed and confused thananything else. He didnt seem overly excited to be a Giant.
Well, 44 games later, all of that is a distant memory.Scutaro has been an engaging, energizing presence while his major league best 94percent contact rate on strikes has made him a perfect fit in the No. 2 spot fora team that must score runs without relying on the longball.
Scutaro will turn 37 next month, but the Giants haveabsolutely no internal options in the system to play second base next season.Theyll need someone to mind the position for another year, maybe two, beforeJoe Panik is likely to be ready.
No surprise, but Im told that the Giants will make everyeffort to re-sign Scutaro after this season. His age is not much of a concern;actually, the Giants see the benefits of having a seasoned presence amid aninfield that is on the young and green side.
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Butwhat does Scutaro think of the Giants now?
I would love to come back here, he told me. I really loveit here. There are great fans, its a great place to play. More important, itsa place where you have a chance to win every year.
Scutaro even said he would be willing to re-sign during theshort window of exclusivity after the season and before hed hit the openmarket. He isnt looking to shop his services as much as to find a place tocall home.
And really, that explains his confusion in those initialdays as a Giant. Nobody likes to live out of a suitcase, and Scutaro hascollected too many stickers on his steamer trunk over the years. Despiteplaying smart, hard and doing the little things to contribute to a winningenvironment over his career, Scutaro is playing for his sixth major league teamin 11 seasons.
The Giants are his eighth big league organization, actually.He was on the move even before making his big league debut with the Mets as a26-year-old in 2002.
Remember that big Richie Sexson trade? Scutaro said. Iwas the player to be named later.
Scutaro originally signed with the Cleveland Indians, wentto Milwaukees minor league system in the seven-play Sexson trade and then theMets plucked him off the waiver wire. A year later, the As did the same thing.He found a home in Oakland for four seasons before a trade sent him to theToronto Blue Jays.
Even when Scutaro finally got to choose his destination,signing a three-year deal with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2009 season, heended up changing uniforms again. The Red Sox dealt him to Colorado this pastoffseason.
So you could understand why Scutaro might have felt a bitdisillusioned to be packing his bags last July. The Venezuelan native wasedging a bit farther from his family, too. They live in Miami. He hasnt seenthem since the trade, he said.
Even in Triple-A, it was hard going to a new place,Scutaro said. When you get traded, its going to hit you for a couple days. Ittakes awhile to settle in, like youre going to a new school. You have to makefriends again.
He did that in short order, and not only in the Giants clubhouse.With a .341 average, .808 OPS and 30 RBIs in 44 games, hes made tens ofthousands of new friends in the stands at AT&T Park, many of whom haverevived chanting his name from those days in Oakland.
And lest anyone forget, Scutaro saved the Giants byvolunteering to play third base while Pablo Sandoval was on the disabled list,even though he hadnt played an inning at the position since 2008.
I asked a Giants official why a talented, winning player like Scutaro has moved so much throughout his career. He thought on it for awhile, and offered an interesting answer: Scutaro has played for a lot of American League teams that rely on the longball. It's here, with the Giants, where his skills as a run manufacturer and contact man have the greatest value and can be put to the greatest use.
With free agency on the horizon, Scutaro said he is onlythinking about wrapping up an NL West title and returning to the postseason. Hehasnt reached the playoffs since 2006, when he was 1 for 15 and the As lostin the division series to Detroit.
He hopes for a better finish this time. And a chance tounpack his bags.