Bidding for free agent shortstop Marco Scutaro is turning into a three team race between the Giants, Cardinals, and Yankees (of course). The contracts being offered for Scutaro's services have escalated to the point where he has a three year, $24 million offer on the table from the Giants (apparently).
To me, this seems like a lot of money for a player's age 37 through 39 seasons. Scutaro is one of few middle infield options on the free agent market with a pulse this winter, and that's upping his value. But $24 million over three years would be a near 50% increase over the three years and $17 million (after his 2012 option was exercised) that the Red Sox gave him prior to the 2010 season.
Scutaro also took a significant step back in 2012, with a .366 BABIP in 61 games after his trade from the Rockies to the Giants pulling his overall stats out of the gutter. Essentially by offering Scutaro that much money, teams are banking on the fact that the real Marco Scutaro isn't the player he was in the first half, but instead, the player he was in the second half. Many thought that about Hunter Pence after a scorching hot second half of 2011 with the Phillies, then he hit a brick wall in the first half of 2012 and was dealt to the Giants for a much lesser return than what Philadelphia initially sent to the Astros for Pence.
The Giants are falling into a huge potential trap with Scutaro, and while this contract won't obliterate their future payroll, I think what they've proposed has a much higher chance at going poorly for them than going well. Brian Sabean's MO for quite awhile has been loyalty to veterans (SEE: Huff, Aubrey), and re-signing Scutaro at an obvious overpay would continue to feed that monster.