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Jays sign Gonzalez

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / November 27, 2009

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The Red Sox wanted to investigate other options before deciding whether to offer Alex Gonzalez a contract to return as their shortstop. Now they have no choice but to find somebody else.

Gonzalez yesterday signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $2.75 million. The Blue Jays hold a $2.5 million option for 2011.

According to one baseball source, the Red Sox were prepared to offer Gonzalez $3 million if they could not find a better fit via trade or free agency.

The solution for the Red Sox now could be former Toronto shortstop Marco Scutaro. The 34-year-old is a free agent after hitting a career-best .282 with 12 home runs, 60 RBIs, and 90 walks in 144 games last season.

Having signed Gonzalez and backup infielder John McDonald this week, the Blue Jays do not need Scutaro. But Toronto could offer him arbitration to receive two draft picks as compensation once the Type A free agent signs with another team.

That could give the Red Sox pause given the value they place on draft picks.

Scutaro is seeking a multiyear contract. The Red Sox believe that Jose Iglesias, 19, is their shortstop of the future, but could be agreeable to a two-year deal with Scutaro to man the position in the meantime.

Agent Peter Greenberg has said the Sox are among the teams Scutaro has the most interest in. Other free agent shortstops include Miguel Tejada, Khalil Greene, and Orlando Cabrera, who played for the Sox in ’04.

The Red Sox obtained Gonzalez from the Cincinnati Reds Aug. 14. He hit a surprising .284 over 44 games and played his usual stellar defense. The Sox declined Gonzalez’s $6 million option this month.

Gonzalez had a .279 on-base percentage with the Reds and Red Sox last season.

This is the second time Gonzalez has left the Sox as a free agent. He was their shortstop in 2006 before signing with the Reds.

Tony Massarotti of the Globe staff contributed to this report; Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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