This week the San Francisco Giants completed a sweep of the Detroit Tigers to win their second World Series in the past three seasons. Even though the Rockies were nowhere near playoff contention and are trying to dig out of a gargantuan hole themselves, they still had an impact on the World Series. Here’s how.
Rewind to the offseason leading up to the 2012 season. The Colorado Rockies were convinced that it was a lack of accountability (rather than, say, a lack of talent) that stood between them and Major League greatness. They needed to improve their “clubhouse culture,” they said. They did so by adding veterans who are good leaders and would set a good example for younger players. The players added to the roster included Michael Cuddyer, Ramon Hernandez, and one Marco Scutaro.
Acquired from the Boston Red Sox for starting pitcher Clayton Mortensen, Scutaro was supposed to bring a number of positive characteristics to Colorado, including good defense, good situational at-bats and the ability to consistently put the ball in play. Also, as if this needs to be said, he was a great presence in the clubhouse. Tough luck combined with a dreary circumstance in Colorado led to a slow start for Scutaro. It didn’t help that he was playing a different position (second base) and batting in a different spot in the lineup (leadoff instead of second).
As such, it didn’t seem that many fans were upset to see Scutaro traded on July 27th, even if it was to a team in the same division. It did not seem like a big deal that Scutaro would now be on the San Francisco Giants. The time had come for the Rockies to clear the way for playing time for Josh Rutledge and DJ LeMahieu. Besides, Scutaro had looked like a solid but ultimately average player for the Rockies. He would be a nice but not a groundbreaking addition for their division foes…right?
Turns out, he was a groundbreaking addition. It was the trade of the year. Scutaro showed that he was fully acclimated to second base, complementing shortstop Brandon Crawford beautifully up the middle defensively. He also knocked clutch hit after clutch hit, including a .500 BA in the an MVP effort in the NLCS and a go-ahead RBI in a World Series victory. He is on the short list of the reasons that the Giants charged to their second World Series title in three seasons.
The Rockies received a player named Charlie Culberson for Scutaro.
You’re welcome, San Francisco.