With the trade deadline just a few days away and shortstop Ian Desmond out until at least until the end of August, Washington has reportedly shifted their focus towards acquiring some much needed middle infield depth prior to Tuesday afternoon. According to The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore the team has already discussed about 15-20 options (internally) that consist of both MLB players and Triple-A options that would be improvements over what the organization currently has in Syracuse.
One of the options Kilgore specifically mentions was also brought up by Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post earlier this week, as Washington (and others) reportedly had scouts in attendance in Arizona Wednesday to watch second baseman Marco Scutaro, who appears to some like the most likely Rockie to be dealt by Tuesday’s deadline. Given his experience in both leagues and his ability to play multiple positions he’s becoming a hot commodity. He does have some limited playoff experience as well (27 plate appearances in 2006 with Oakland in which he hit .185/.185/.333).
The 36 year old has batted .271/.324/.359 on the season through 411 plate appearances, adding four home runs and 30 RBI while mostly playing second base (he’s seen some time at shortstop as well). Colorado had acquired him late this past offseason from the Boston Red Sox for nothing more than middle reliever Clayton Mortenson once Boston felt they needed to shed some payroll in order to make some of their winter additions. At the time the Rockies seemed to believe that Scutaro would come into camp to fight for the second base job while also providing some depth behind Troy Tulowitski, but it’s safe to say he’s been more valuable to the team than originally anticipated.
Scutaro is owed roughly $2.3 Million over the remainder of the season, according to Renck, and will be a free agent this winter but it’s unclear what the Rockies would ask for in return should they choose to move him. The cost, however, should not be too prohibitive and likely would not mean that the Nationals would need to give up any of their top prospects. Considering what Colorado sent to Boston to get Scutaro in the first place, we might be looking at one of the team’s Triple-A arms or another minor leaguer that isn’t on the team’s 40-man roster – a cost that most Nationals fans would not object to paying.
Kilgore also reminds us that had he not been injured two games into the season, Anthony Rendon might have been an option to consider at this point in the season. However, considering the top prospect has played in a grand total of 7 games this year he is effectively no longer an option. The middle infield is Washington’s shallowest area of depth within the organization as most of the team’s prospects have yet to appear at or above Double-A and are simply not ready to make the jump all the way to Washington.