The Boston Red Sox believe they are a better team with shortstop Marco Scutaro than without him. Still, they are open to trading Scutaro for the right part, according to major-league sources.
Multiple teams are showing interest in Scutaro, sources say. Jed Lowrie would take over at shortstop if the Sox trade Scutaro, with the team presumably strengthening another area.
Middle-inning relief is a principal area of need for the Red Sox. The Cardinals, Padres, Reds and Pirates are among the teams that are both looking for a shortstop and potentially deep enough in the bullpen to trade a reliever.
The Sox, though, are not the only team trying to trade a shortstop. The Rays are willing to move Jason Bartlett and turn over short to Reid Brignac, sources say. Bartlett, coming off a $4 million salary, is entering his final year of arbitration before becoming a free agent.
Scutaro, 35, will earn $5 million next season. His contract includes a $6 million club option or $3 million player option for ’12, plus a $1.5 million buyout.
Lowrie, 26, batted .287/.381/.526 in 197 plate appearances last season after spending the first 3 1/2 months on the disabled list with mononucleosis. He played both short and second, filling in for both Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia.
Scutaro, signed as a free agent last December, appeared in 150 games while fighting through a number of ailments, batting .275/.333/.388.
— Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi