Non-Tender Candidate: Luke Scott

Luke Scott had the best full season of his career in 2010, ranking sixth in the American League with a .535 slugging percentage.  As a late bloomer with lightly-regarded defense, Scott has been going year to year through arbitration and is an oft-cited comparable due to the healthy raises he's received.  In his last time through, he beat the midpoint of his and the Orioles' submissions and received a $2.35MM increase, bringing his 2011 salary to $6.4MM.  Scott's offseason, of course, was better known for a Winter Meetings interview with Yahoo's David Brown than his arbitration raise.


Scott, 33, had his projected position changed twice during the offseason.  When Derrek Lee was signed to play first base Scott became the designated hitter, and then he became the left fielder upon the Vladimir Guerrero signing.

Scott's season started out with a whimper as he battled a groin strain in April, and then a shoulder issue became public in May.  He decided to play through a torn labrum in his shoulder, using a combination of rehab and a June cortisone injection.  But then Scott bruised his knee in late June, and he landed on the disabled list a week later.  During that DL stint the pain in his shoulder worsened, and after another cortisone shot and a rehab assignment he was activated in late July.  It only took one game for Scott to realize he had to have surgery on his shoulder.  From what I've heard, Scott is a disciplined and devoted offseason worker, and is expected to be ready for Spring Training next year.

Scott didn't add much in the way of counting stats in 2011 – nine home runs, 22 RBI, and 24 runs.  So, we project his salary to be in the $6.4MM range again.  Is that a worthwhile gamble for the Orioles, who have gotten power production this year from J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters?  Scott's recovery progress leading up to the December non-tender deadline will be a big factor, but I'm leaning toward the Orioles tendering him a contract.  The O's will have a lot of payroll space, and the free agent market doesn't offer much in the way of alternatives who have Scott's power potential and will sign a one-year deal under $7MM.  The x factor will be a potential new GM in Baltimore, who could certainly find reasons to cut Scott as part of a mini-shakeup.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

32 Responses to Non-Tender Candidate: Luke Scott Leave a Reply

  1. 9 HR in 209 AB’s isn’t insignificant. You’re looking at a ~20 HR pace if you project out to 500 AB’s and he was doing this with multiple injuries. Sure, the rest of his numbers were down, but if he can stay healthy there’s no doubt in my mind that he could go 75-25-85 .260/.340/.490 which is low given his career numbers, but it’s worth paying for.

    • True.  My point was just that it won’t result in much of an arb raise if any.

      • If he’s not going to be making much more (I think we’d have to assume around 7 mil) then he’s worth the pickup in today’s offense deflated market. When you also think of the flexibility that he can offer you with being able to play 1B or LF as well as DH (means that you can keep solid power output in the line up while resting Reynolds, Davis, or an OF) he’s really worth it.

        At this point, I just don’t know if I could trust a guy like Reimold enough to let go of Scott. I think he gets picked up and is a trade candidate at next year’s deadline if he stays healthy. I’d be really surprised if you’d pay him $6.4 million last year, but a $600k – $1 million raise would be too much.

  2. If they cut him loose, there’s always the potential for Nugent/Scott 2012.  The Tea Party will love them!

    • JestersDead86 4 years ago

      That was totally unnecessary.  He’s got a right to his opinion, whether you like it or don’t. Let’s stick with baseball. Thanks.

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        you felt the need to voice your opinion of justin bartz voicing his opinion of the opinions luke scott voiced?

        totally unnecessary indeed

      • Ouch… I wasn’t criticizing his opinion at all.  Instead, I was making a joke.  Tee hee, giggle giggle, ha ha, a few guffaws, etc.

        Not that it should matter, but for the record I’m a proud conservative myself.  If you can’t poke fun at yourself (or others like you), you have no sense of humor.

        I wish more ballplayers would express their opinions like Scott did.  They don’t all have to say something to get the headlines, but it’s nice to learn where they stand on anything, political or not.  I like knowing more about baseball players outside of what I can read on BR or Fangraphs.

  3. At this point, it would probably be best for the Orioles to non tender Luke Scott because he’s probably not worth $6.4 million, and they could probably get him back for a lot cheaper. Even if he decides to sign somewhere else, he’d only be a DH at this point anyway, and the Orioles have a number of guys I’m sure they’d love to try out at DH.

    • Curious as to who you’d put at DH.  I can’t think of a better option than Scott, especially because if he finds his 2010 form again he’d be a great trade chip at the deadline.

    • cato7 4 years ago

      Doubtful. Arbitration case will yield a much higher pay increase than the current 6.4 contract.

    • cato7 4 years ago

      Doubtful. Comparing his numbers over the past 3 years will prove a moot point for the O’s and a pay bump of at least 250k will be managed in my opinion.

  4. bjsguess 4 years ago

    If Scott is healthy he is worth it. He’s a very nice bat to have around.

  5. Alex 4 years ago

    Strongly disagree, they should let Scott go. He’s been an injury risk his whole career, and these most recent ones will be difficult to rehab. Further, the O’s have several viable alternatives that will be serious improvements defensively and possibly offensively as well: Reimold, Angle; hell, I’d even take Pie over Scott at this point.

    • I strongly disagree with your analysis.  I don’t see any of them as an upgrade over Scott even considering his substantial salary.

      • Alex 4 years ago

        When the money that would be paying Scott could be very well spent upgrading other areas, I see no need to waste it when the other options that I listed would be far more affordable.

        • You act like we have a salary cap that means we cant spend the extra money anyway.

          Angle is a 4th OF at best, Reimold should get time in LF, and Pie… just no.  The only better option would be signing a 1B and putting Reynolds at DH.  If we don’t sign one, Reynolds stays at first where his defense is much improved over third and Scott DHs.

      • Rabbitov 4 years ago

        There is no reason to be nice when someone posts something as horrible off as the original post.  Unleash the Jeff!

    • Rabbitov 4 years ago

      HAHAH Reimold, Angle, and Pie?  

      2 people liked your post? 

      I won’t do the work for you guys.  Look up Felix Pie, Reimold, and Angle’s stats (for Angle use minor leagues, hell combine 2 seasons if you want), and tell me why this isn’t the most ridiculous post of all time. 

  6. $1742854 4 years ago

    Money could probably be better spent in other areas. Also–regardless of your political affiliation–if you think that your Commander-in-Chief is a liar regarding his national citizenship, you’re probably a non-tender candidate based on “get a life” criteria.

    • I’m curious as to who is a better option for around $7 million that you would try to acquire to replace him. Political views aside, I’ve never heard anything about him being a poor teammate or a clubhouse cancer. But no one else on the free agent market would sign with the Orioles for that low of a price and bring that kind of bat with him.

      You’re safer hanging on to him then letting him go and hoping to get him cheaper. You’re almost always better off with the devil that you know.

    • Rabbitov 4 years ago

      The real question is: can he play baseball.  His political views are completely irrelevant to anything. 

  7. Here’s an article with a little more on Luke Scott. Despite people accusing him of being a racist, he seems like a good guy for the most part, well liked by his teammates

    link to

  8. I see how Luke Scott could be a good fit/gamble for the Mets

  9. Should have moved him last winter. He is almost dunn bad in the field(well not quite that bad but still) and had a career year last season. Its not like they were a potential play off team this year why not let the younger guys have a shot?

    • Rabbitov 4 years ago

      1) He is nowhere near that bad in the field.   

      2) There are no younger guys worth a shot. 

      • Well what is the worst thing that could have happened if they gave someone else his at bats and got a piece or two for him? Always sell high when your 32 year old left fielder has a career year.

        • I agree with you, which is why I’m an advocate for resigning him and seeing if he regains his form.  He clearly has the power when healthy (hitting on 20 HR pace while injured) so I don’t see why it’s not worth the risk.  

        • Rabbitov 4 years ago

          They won’t get a piece or two because he’s not coming off of a career year anymore. In the meantime we have no young players to fill in for him if we let him go. 

          Your theory is very sound and I agree with the theory. Unfortunately in practice we have no way of implementing it successfully.

  10. The Mythical One 4 years ago

    Let me try to address all of these questions and ideas as quickly as I can:

    Who could the Orioles get for around $7 million that could provide around the same amount of production as Luke Scott?

    2B: Kelly Johnson: low average and OBP at times, hits a lot of doubles and has thump in the bat. Also plays a position of potential need.
    LF: Josh Willingham: Steady bat around .270 with 20HR and 70-90RBI production. Not a a defensive wizard, but can play LF better than Scott who is dreadful and can’t stay healthy.

    Those are just two off the top of my head.

    Who can DH?

    Reimold, Davis, Reynolds, Markakis, Jones, Roberts, Wieters (if you finally get a decent back up, I kind of like Henry Blanco. Pretty good glove, strong arm, pretty decent hitter). I think the DH slot should not be given to a DH only type player. It should instead be used to rest everybody else. The primary DH should be the guy you bring in like a Cuddyer or maybe Willingham to see how Reimold does in LF defensively and if he can stick for a full season.

    The bottom line:

    The man can’t stay healthy even as a DH. He was constantly getting leg injuries. He can’t play LF at all, he’s terrible. The man is coming off of a labrum injury which is of course part of the shoulder. We know how that usually affects a pitcher, but for a hitter it usually robs them of power…which is the only part of Luke’s game that has any value. If he’s not parking the ball, he’s of no use. If they give him arbitration and pay the man $6.4 million they are absolutely crazy. You non-tender him, let some other team pay him crazy money and see if he can get healthy on their tab. We need to move on. If he’s willing to come in for a very reasonable deal around $2-$3 million, MAYBE I take that deal, but of course he has to prove to me that he’s 100% healthy again.

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