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Marco Scutaro returns for three years, $20 million

YOU DON'T LIVE IN A WORLD WITH ABSOLUTES, YOU SPOILED PERSON. This is not a deal to hate without hesitation. This is not a deal to love unconditionally. This news that the Giants have re-signed Marco Scutaro for three years and $20 million is quite the wonderland of ambiguity.

The good: The Giants shouldn't have a hole at second base next year. They'll be contending, most likely, but they won't have to futz around with Ryan Theriot or Emmanuel Burriss like they were doing in May. There's no cameo from the Charlie Culbersons of the future, no KNBR callers pointing out that Brett Pill played a little second in Fresno.

There's Marco Scutaro, and he's a competent fielder at second who can turn a mean double play and put up an OBP of .340 or so. Freddy Sanchez with duct tape around his joints instead of painter's tape, then. And that's something that was like a desert mirage to Giants fans early in the season. For 2013 -- when it's likely to matter most -- the Giants should be better.

The bad: Three years? Hffurf. Juan Uribe got three years from the Dodgers, for example. And when he went south right away (pun not intended, but I'll point out the existence of the pun!) there was a sense of doom around him and his role. This guy is around how long? How did that happen?

The Giants can say all the right things about Scutaro and why they think he'll stick around. I don't disagree. Scutaro has a quick, direct swing. Quiet feet. Not a lot of moving parts. If you created a hitter in a test tube for the express purpose of aging gracefully, he would have a swing that's something like Scutaro's.

Which all guarantees nothing. There have been 26 seasons in which a second baseman older than 37 has finished a full season with a WAR over zero. Two of them were from Joe Morgan, and a couple of them were from Jeff Kent. Bay Area ties! The most instructive one might be Randy Velarde.

Look at what Velarde turned himself into, transforming from a forgotten utility man in his 20s into a high-OBP second baseman in his 30s. Sounds familiar. He had one of his very best seasons when he was 36. He had a good year with the A's when he was 37, and then he was eaten by an age leopard. Walking along, whistling a tune, minding his own business, and grrropmmmmmpff. Age leopard. They identified the elder Velarde by his dental records and his love for Wheel of Fortune.

It can happen to Scutaro. Before the deal is over, it's exceptionally likely to happen to Scutaro.

But for 2013, the Giants are better. And that's not a minor concern. It's a major concern.

So hooray for the good parts. Boo to the bad parts. Do your part and buy a shirsey. Marco Scutaro is going to be a Giant for a long time. The emotions are mixed, but they would have been if he were on the Cardinals, too. At least this outcome makes the team better next year.