The Red Sox and Rockies finally consummated their Marco Scutaro talks, as Scutaro heads to Denver to play second base. In return, RHP Clay Mortensen is heading to Fenway.
Mortensen is 26 and has been relatively lackluster thus far in his career. He did tally a 3.86 ERA in 16 appearances last year, including six starts. According to Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox consider Mortensen a starter, though it's not clear as of now whether that means he'll compete for a spot in the big-league rotation at this point. FanGraphs projects him to put up a mid-4 ERA in a reliever role, although that projection is obviously based on him being with the Rockies.
If you read between the lines (and you don't really have to think that hard), this deal comes down to money. Scutaro is due $6 million and Mortensen is due $400k and can be sent to the minors. The Sox clearly believe their infield is not their biggest problem, and trust Punto and Aviles to hold it down while they spend their $6 million elsewhere.
The Sox are rumored to be after free agent Roy Oswalt, as well as White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who would obviously require prospects as well. Another name thrown into the mix has been Cody Ross, although the Mets are reportedly making a run at the outfielder.
Oswalt seems the most likely to me. With Kalish waiting in the wings, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend money (and supposedly they have limited resources) on an outfielder. Meanwhile, they must be comfortable with a Punto/Aviles combo at short until Iglesias is ready, so it looks like they'll be throwing their money (if anywhere) at pitching.
Who knows if it makes sense. I suppose we could get a solid year out of Aviles playing close to full time between short and right, and Punto and MacDonald pitching in. But it certainly seems like trying to fill one hole by creating another.