Baseball America

Giants Bolster Infield Corps With Scutaro

The Deal
The Giants lead the National League West, relying again on stout pitching and the offense of all-stars such as catcher Buster Posey, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and left fielder Melky Cabrera. But with Sandoval banged up with a hamstring injury and the Giants giving plenty of at-bats to light-hitting reserve infielders such as Joaquin Arias and Emmanuel Burriss, the club went looking for infield help. They acquired some Friday night, sending 2007 supplemental first-rounder Charlie Culberson to NL West division rival Colorado for veteran infielder Marco Scutaro and cash considerations.

Scutaro, 36, had one of his best seasons in 2011 with the Red Sox and was traded in the offseason in a salary dump to the Rockies for righthander Clayton Mortensen. He’s hit just .271/.324/.359 with the Rockies and didn’t handle a slide to shortstop when Troy Tulowitzki went down with injury, so Colorado turned to rookie Josh Rutledge instead. That made Scutaro expendible, and Culberson has a chance to have a Scutaro-like career. With the Giants, Scutaro can fill in both at second (for Ryan Theriot) and shortstop (for Brandon Crawford) as well as at third, where he played frequently earlier in his career but where he hasn’t seen regular-season action since 2008.

 
Rockies Acquire
Charlie Culberson, 2b
Age: 23. Born: Apr 10, 1989 in Rome, Ga.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Calhoun (Ga.) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Giants in supplemental first round (51st overall) of 2007 draft; signed June 15, 2007.
   
Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
San Francisco (NL) MLB .136 6 22 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 7 0 .136 .136
Fresno (AAA) AAA .236 91 351 53 83 14 6 10 53 20 76 8 .283 .396

Culberson made his big league debut this season and went 3-for-22 with seven strikeouts with the Giants. He has some pop in his lean frame and a solid feel for the barrel to go with fast hands and surprising pop for his size. His aggressiveness is the issue; he has struck out 99 or more times in each of his three healthy full seasons in the minors, striking out in 22 percent of his at-bats since 2009. Culberson has played second and short in the minors, and his plus arm is his best tool. His range suits him better for second base. He has solid instincts overall that play well on the bases, but he’ll have to add polish at the plate to enhance his career .309 minor league on-base percentage.

 
Giants Acquire
Marco Scutaro, 2b/ss
Age: 36. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Under contract for $6 million this season (approximately $1 million per month).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
   
Club (League) Year AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Colorado (NL) 2012 .271 95 377 47 102 16 3 4 30 27 35 7 .324 .361
3-Year Totals .281 358 1404 198 394 80 4 22 140 118 142 16 .338 .390

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