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Scutaro agrees to three-year pact to stay with Giants

Scutaro agrees to three-year pact to stay with Giants

Scutaro agrees to three-year pact to stay with Giants
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Giants accomplished their last major offseason objective Tuesday night by agreeing with second baseman Marco Scutaro, a key figure in their second-half surge, to a three-year, $20 million contract.

Scutaro became the third free agent to remain with the reigning World Series champions, following left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (three years, $18 million) and center fielder Angel Pagan (four years, $40 million). Scutaro's deal will become official once he passes the requisite physical examination.

The deal could be considered a mild risk, given Scutaro's age (37). But earlier Tuesday, when asked if he thought Scutaro could remain productive while approaching age 40, Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans compared him to Omar Vizquel, the former Giants shortstop who played 60 games this year at 45.

"He has a little different body build, but he reminds people of the player that Vizquel was," Evans said of Scutaro, who played a career-high 156 games in 2012. "This guy's a hard worker and he has a pretty good history of being healthy."

In the afternoon, rumors of a three-year, $24 million offer for Scutaro swirled around the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Meanwhile, Evans insisted that San Francisco remained "focused" on a two-year deal for Scutaro. But Evans acknowledged that the Giants could be talked into adding an option year for Scutaro. That turned out to be a guaranteed year.

Scutaro, one of the best Trade Deadline acquisitions in San Francisco history, hastened the team's march to the World Series by hitting .362 in 61 regular-season games after being obtained from Colorado on July 27. Scutaro proceeded to hit .500 in the National League Championship Series against St. Louis to capture Most Valuable Player honors.

The Giants still could use a left fielder. Though signing Scutaro might push the Giants' payroll budget toward its limits, around $140 million, club officials indicated that wouldn't necessarily eliminate chances of adding another player. One candidate could be outfielder Nick Swisher, who was rumored to have San Francisco atop his wish list. Swisher would fit neatly into left field -- probably as a regular, but possibly as a switch-hitting complement to left-handed-batting Gregor Blanco.

Evans didn't address Swisher specifically, but acknowledged that Giants general manager Brian Sabean welcomes performers who sincerely wish to join the organization.

"Brian's always had a bias toward players who want to come here," Evans said. "Players who want to be Giants get long, long looks."

Evans indicated that the Giants could accommodate another free agent after re-signing Scutaro.

"Ownership's been very supportive of responding to the needs that we have and the opportunities that come," Evans said. "That's been a consistent theme."

Listening to Evans speak, president and chief executive officer Larry Baer concurred.

"That's the mantra -- to do what needs to be done to get back [to the World Series]," Baer said.

Swisher, 32, owns a career batting average of .256 and has hit at least 21 home runs in each of his eight full Major League seasons, including the last four with the New York Yankees. He gained familiarity with the Bay Area by playing 2004-07 with Oakland.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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