The Red Sox have agreed to send Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies for Clay Mortensen in what seems to be a salary dump.
Scutaro joined the team after a breakout year in 2009 with the Toronto Blue Jays. While the shortstop has never managed to reach the heights he did that year, he hit .284./.343/.401 for the team, filling a hole at the position that the team had struggled with for five years.
Mortensen, 26, doesn't bring much back to the Red Sox. Despite producing a 3.86 ERA in 58.1 innings with the Rockies last year, he's never really impressed at either the majors or upper-minors. Consistently struggling to miss bats, Mortensen allows far too many walks for a pitcher who's going to allow balls in play. He likely presents nothing more than depth for the Sox beyond even the likes of Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva.
The real upshot of the deal for the Red Sox is that they've dropped $6 million in salary from their payroll, likely with an eye towards making a play for a starting pitcher like Roy Oswalt or Gavin Floyd. Floyd is due just $7 million in 2012, and Oswalt is expected to come in around the same figure. The team has been linked to both starters in recent weeks.