In a curious move, the Colorado Rockies acquired shortstop/second basemen Marco Scutaro from the Boston Red Sox for right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen.

Scutaro will make a more-than-reasonable $6 million in 2012 before becoming a free agent in 2013.

He’ll slide over to second in Colorado, with Troy Tulowitzki entrenched at short, and offer an immediate upgrade over Chris Nelson. Over the last three seasons with Toronto and Boston, Scutaro has hit .284/.356/.404 (102 OPS+). Defensively, he’s probably a little below average at short, but should project right around average at second base.

He just turned 36, but he’s a nice short-term pick-up for Colorado. Over the past four seasons, he’s averaged 3.3 rWAR and 3.2 fWAR.

The curious part of the deal is that the Red Sox don’t really have a legitimate replacement at shortstop and they got back only Mortensen for Scutaro and his favorable contract. Mortensen isn’t anything more than roster-filler, at this point, as neither his major or minor league track records inspire much confidence.

In 95 major league innings, Mortensen’s posted a 5.12 ERA, a 1.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 1.5 HR/9. It’s hard to project anything better than replacement level production out of Mortensen at the major league level.

The Red Sox will likely use Scutaro’s money to sign a pitcher, perhaps Roy Oswalt, but it’s strange to see them working on a tight budget.

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