You remember Larry Brown, don’t you?
(No, not the former Sixers’ coach/troubadour.)
I’m talking about the former Cowboys cornerback who intercepted two Neil O’Donnell passes in Super Bowl XXX, then scored a huge free agent pay-day based solely on his good fortune in that one game.
And while Brown’s success in Dallas’ Super Bowl win over the Steelers was really as much luck as anything else, his situation is comparable to that of baseball’s newest superstar, Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro.
Since his arrival to the Giants in a trade with Colorado, Scutaro has been nothing short of remarkable.
In 61 games and 268 plate appearances with San Francisco, Scutaro hit .362/.385/.473, with an OPS+ of 145. He has surpassed that production in the playoffs, winning NLCS MVP honors after hitting .500/.533/.607 with 14 hits in 28 at bats. He has also played brilliant defense.
And with so few infield options available on the free agent market this year, a guy like Scutaro, who can play second, shortstop and third (YOU HEAR THAT PHILLIES FANS!!! THIRD BASE!!! THIRD BASE!!! THIRD BASE!!!… panting heavily… knees getting weaker… need… a… third… baseman… soooooooo… badly!) all of a sudden becomes a very palatable option.
And it’s true, Marco Scutaro is in one of those zones where the baseball, as Fox announcer Tim McCarver so creatively put it last night, looks like a watermelon at the plate.
Josh Hamilton: 65 swings and misses in his last 15 games (63 PA). Marco Scutaro: 62 swings and misses in all of 2012 (736 PA).
— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) October 23, 2012
Marco Scutaro- 7 swings in Game 1, missed none. He’s now taken 89 swings this postseason and only missed twice.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 25, 2012
But looking a little closer at Scutaro’s career numbers reveal a nice player, but not someone to whom you want to plop down gobs of cash.
|162 Game Avg.||162||634||565||80||156||32||2||10||62||7||3||55||69||.276||.340||.391||.731||94|
Obviously, Scutaro is a very nice player. He’s an above average player with a career slash line of .276/.340/.391, with 18 career HRs in 1259 games.
But he is not the player we’ve been seeing for the last two weeks. He’s not an unstoppable hit machine. He’s a decent infielder nearing the end of his career.
This is not meant to demean what Scutaro is doing right now. At 37 years old, this will undoubtedly be the shining achievement of his career, even if the Giants don’t end up winning the World Series. And he certainly would be an upgrade at third base for the Phillies over what they have now, especially because his splits against righties and lefties are historically pretty even.
|vs RHP as RHB||1104||3593||3210||893||179||15||49||356||45||18||295||396||.278||.339||.389||.728||.301||99|
|vs LHP as RHB||563||1333||1178||316||67||3||26||122||8||4||133||137||.268||.342||.396||.738||.284||102|
|vs LH Starter||382||351||1562||1369||214||379||82||2||30||165||8||4||159||146||.277||.352||.405||.757||.290||107|
|vs RH Starter||877||759||3364||3019||411||830||164||16||45||313||45||18||269||387||.275||.334||.385||.719||.300||97|
So the Phillies should make a play for him… but only for the right price.
Only a one year deal, possibly with an option, would make sense for the Phils. Anything longer than that and you’re paying a 40-year old guy to play baseball for a team that already has age issues. And one would think Scutaro’s Ty Cobb impersonation isn’t going to last and will likely price him out of the Phillies’ budget and long-term plans.
Besides, San Francisco will likely make the same kind of push to re-sign him after the season like they did with Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell after their World Series win in 2010. And there are indications Marco would like to stay, anyway.
But someone is going to pay this guy a lot of money this offseason and make him a multi-year commitment based on his inflated postseason numbers.
That team should not be the Phillies.