Marco Scutaro Named NLCS MVP
The Colorado Rockies added Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Guthrie, Michael Cuddyer, and Ramon Hernandez before the 2012 season in an effort to improve their clubhouse culture with veteran presences. Along with Todd Helton and Jason Giambi, these players were supposed to offer wisdom, accountability, and the ability to teach younger players how to act as professional ballplayers.
Scutaro with his NLCS MVP trophy. Image: Kyle Terada – USA Today Sports
The operation was a resounding failure, the struggles of the wavering Rockies slowly sapping the life out of each of these players. Cuddyer, Hernandez, Helton, and Giambi all struggled before hitting the disabled list for extended stints, missing most of the season. Guthrie, a notorious leader, class act, and good guy with a great sense of humor, was transformed into a snarky, bitter mess before being traded to the Kansas City Royals for Jonathan Sanchez. Almost as unexpectedly, Scutaro looked lost as a member of the Rockies, on offense, defense, and the base paths, before they dished him to the San Francisco Giants for Charlie Culberson.
Scutaro exploded onto the playoff race scene, knocking hit after clutch hit and playing good defense. His success as a member of the Giants culminated in his being named the MVP of the NLCS as his team advanced to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
Most of Scutaro’s struggles as a member of the Rockies were the result of tough luck. He consistently hit the ball hard, delivering the professional at-bats which we were promised when the team acquired him from the Boston Red Sox. Other struggles were baffling, such as his surprising errors on defense or one especially surprising base running error.
To be fair to Scutaro, two things should be said. First, when it comes to his offense, he was forced into the leadoff spot because of the struggles of Dexter Fowler. While it always seemed to me that his approach suited the leadoff spot very well, he has consistently shown, both with the Rockies and the Giants, that he is more comfortable and more productive in the #2 spot (see his .500 average in the NLCS). Secondly, he was an absolute class act and professional throughout his tenure on the team. He was accountable and he played hard.
This is what he looked like as a member of the Rockies. Image: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
There are plenty of sour grapes to go around as Rockies fans watch Scutaro excel on a divison rival in the playoffs. My advice would be to not direct any venom at Scutaro, because the clubhouse culture context in which they added him did not work out for any of the players involved, and unlike the bitter Guthrie, Scutaro never made excuses or lost his professionalism. The toughest part of seeing him on the Giants is knowing that he is probably much, much, much happier there.
But if you remove your Rockies loyalty for a moment, can you blame him for that? Can anybody?