Luke Scott Rumors

Rays To Sign Luke Scott

THURSDAY: The deal is official, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (Twitter links). Scott will earn $5MM in 2012, and the club option is worth $6MM with a $1MM buyout. The Tampa Tribune reports (on Twitter) that the contract also includes bonuses placed on plate appearances.

WEDNESDAY: The Rays have reached an agreement with designated hitter Luke Scott on a one-year deal with a 2013 option, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times was first to report the near-agreement, and he notes that it includes incentives.  Scott is represented by PSI Sports Management.

Scott

Scott, 33, hit .220/.301/.402 in 236 plate appearances in 2011, his season cut short by July shoulder surgery.  The Orioles non-tendered him last month rather than pay a salary in the range of 2011's $6.4MM figure.  Scott told Topkin he expects to primarily serve as the Rays' DH, with some time at first base.  If his shoulder is fully recovered, perhaps he can return to the .500 slugging percentage-type power he's shown in the past.  The Rays are closest to Scott's Florida home, notes Connolly.

Scott is a late bloomer, having burst onto the scene with a strong half-season for the Astros at age 28 in '06.  After the '07 campaign, he was dealt to the Orioles as part of the Miguel Tejada trade.  Scott has drawn plenty of attention off the field, particularly after interviews with David Brown of Yahoo and Amy K. Nelson of ESPN.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Rays Moving Close To Deal With Luke Scott

12:12pm: It sounds like the Rays are moving close to a deal with Scott, tweets Topkin.

8:50am: Luke Scott is among the players the Rays have talked about, reported Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times yesterday.  Scott could be a one-year option for the Rays mainly at designated hitter.  Reportedly ten teams aside from the Orioles have shown interest in Scott since he was non-tendered a month ago, but none of them had been revealed until now.  Shoulder surgery ended Scott's season in July.

As we mentioned yesterday, Topkin talked to agent Scott Boras, who said Carlos Pena and Johnny Damon remain possible for the Rays.


Orioles Notes: Johnson, Jones, Scott

The Orioles announced a three-year deal with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen today, but that’s far from the only news to trickle out of Baltimore today. Here’s the latest on the club…

  • Now that they’ve signed Chen, the Orioles are going forward with Jim Johnson in the bullpen, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli tweets. Johnson, 28, posted a 2.67 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 91 innings of relief for Baltimore in 2011 and there's been talk of moving him to the rotation.
  • The Orioles haven’t discussed a possible contract extension with Adam Jones, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. Jones projects to earn $5.8MM or so in 2012 as a second time arbitration eligible player
  • GM Dan Duquette has had contact with free agent Luke Scott, Ghiroli tweets. However, no deal appears to be brewing between the Orioles and Scott, who got non-tendered in December.
  • Kubatko suggests Chen, Jeremy Guthrie and Tommy Hunter will be in next year's rotation and that hopefuls such as Zach Britton and Brian Matusz will have to earn their rotation spots by pitching well in Spring Training.


Orioles Rumors: Adam Jones, Tommy Hanson, Fielder

The Orioles acquired Jai Miller today and also sent Brandon Snyder to Texas.  The latest on the team…

  • Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com he wants to improve the Orioles' "on-base capability from top to bottom."  Duquette isn't sure he currently has a .380 OBP guy, and isn't sure if his second baseman is currently on the roster.  The free agents with the best 2011 OBPs include Casey Kotchman, Chris Snyder, Carlos Pena, and Pat Burrell.
  • The Orioles haven't made contract with Luke Scott since non-tendering him on December 12th, reports Kubatko.    
  • The Orioles are fairly confident they will add another outfielder, though that wouldn't necessarily portend an Adam Jones trade, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  The Orioles were not overly intrigued by the Braves' offer of Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado, and a minor league pitcher.  Connolly doesn't see Jurrjens as a centerpiece for a Jones trade.  Instead, the Orioles are intrigued by Tommy Hanson.
  • Connolly notes that an extension remains possible for Jones, who is under team control for two more years.  January is always a big month for extensions.
  • An Orioles source told Connolly they would not offer Prince Fielder the seven-year, $140MM deal Mark Teixeira rejected three years ago.  For the Orioles to sign Fielder, Connolly feels that his market would have to completely collapse, and he finds that highly unlikely.  Connolly reiterates that agent Scott Boras and Fielder "did not meet with [Orioles owner] Peter Angelos despite being in the area – which I thought should demonstrate once and for all that the Orioles really aren’t anywhere near the frontburner of this issue and Fielder's side isn't forcing it." 

Orioles Notes: Scott, Offseason Plan

After introducing the newly signed Tsuyoshi Wada to the media today, Orioles GM Dan Duquette addressed his club's offseason to date and future plans with reporters, including Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Here's the latest: 

  • Duquette said he's interested in bringing back slugger Luke Scott, who was non-tendered on Monday, but cautioned that a deal is no sure thing. As for the non-tendering, he explained: "We just felt his value in arbitration was much higher than his actual market value."
  • A left-handed-hitting outfielder and a DH remain on the club's offseason wish list.
  • On whether any swaps are possible, Duquette said: “We’ve got a couple trade discussions that are still alive."
  • The decision on whether Jim Johnson and Brad Bergesen will be starters or relievers in 2012 will be left up to manager Buck Showalter in the spring. Johnson is eligible for arbitration for the second time this offseason and projects to earn $2.5MM through that process.

Ten Teams Have Some Interest In Luke Scott

The Orioles and approximately ten other teams have expressed some level of interest in signing Luke Scott, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The 33-year-old became a free agent Monday night when the Orioles declined to tender him a contract

Scott, who battled a shoulder injury in 2011 and underwent surgery this summer, projected to earn $6MM through arbitration, so GM Dan Duquette let him go. But from 2008-10, Scott averaged 25 home runs and a .266/.348/.497 line, so there's strong interest in the PSI Sports Management client.


American League Non-Tenders

Today's American League non-tenders are below, but you can keep track of all teams in our non-tender tracker.

  • The Mariners announced that they non-tendered Dan Cortes and Chris Gimenez.
  • The Orioles announced that they non-tendered Willie Eyre, the right-handed reliever who was designated for assignment last week. They non-tendered Jo-Jo Reyes, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). The Orioles also non-tendered Luke Scotttweets Connolly. Scott, who battled a shoulder injury in 2011 and underwent surgery this summer, projected to earn $6MM through arbitration. 
  • The Rays non-tendered Andy Sonnanstine, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (Twitter link).
  • The Rangers non-tendered right-hander Fabio Castillo, according to Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com (Twitter link).
  • The Red Sox announced that they non-tendered Rich Hill.
  • The Royals announced that they will non-tender left-hander Aaron Laffey.
  • The Twins announced that they've non-tendered left-hander Jose Mijares (Twitter link).
  • The Tigers non-tendered second baseman Will Rhymes, announced the team.  Rhymes is not yet close to being arbitration eligible, as he has less than one year of big league service time.  Rhymes, 28, hit .306/.377/.390 at Triple-A this year.

AL East Links: Rasmus, Jays, Scott, Red Sox, Madson

Some links from the AL East…

  • The Blue Jays have sent the Cardinals cash considerations rather than players to be named later to complete this summer's Colby Rasmus trade, reports MLB.com Gregor Chisholm (Twitter links). St. Louis was supposed to received three players to be named later in the deal.
  • Chisholm also reports that the Blue Jays intend to go with five outfielders next year, so it's unclear what that means for Mark Teahen or the recently acquired Ben Francisco (Twitter links). There will be lots of competition in Spring Training.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Chisholm that his priority is to upgrade the bullpen and starting rotation, but there's no guarantee that he'll be able to do so this offseason (Twitter link).
  • The Orioles non-tendered Luke Scott earlier today, but GM Dan Duquette told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that they'd like "to leave the door open" for him to return to Baltimore (Twitter link).
  • The Red Sox have some interest in Kelly Shoppach, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). Shoppach started his career in Boston.
  • Left-hander Rich Hill is a non-tender candidate, but he told WEEI.com's Alex Speier that he hopes the Red Sox will retain him for next year. Hill is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
  • CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman says (on Twitter) that the Red Sox still have their eye on Ryan Madson since Daniel Bard will be preparing to work as a starter next year.
  • Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribute writes that the Rays bank on potential when handing out long-term contracts to young players, like the one just signed by left-hander Matt Moore.

Quick Hits: Infielders, Young Jr., Scott, Red Sox

On this day in 2006, the Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year, $136MM deal.  In five seasons with Chicago, Soriano has a slash line of .266/.320/.498 and has averaged 129 games per year.  Here are some links for Sunday afternoon..

  • Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports is surprised at what teams are paying for sure-handed middle infielders. Specifically, he says the Twins and Dodgers paid role players like final pieces to the puzzle and are counting on them for too much (referring to Jamey Carroll and Mark Ellis, respectively).
  • Eric Young Jr. decided to play in Venezuela this offseason in order to gain more experience playing second base, writes Rafael Rojas Cremonesi for the Denver Post. Young played second base just seven times for the Rockies last season, and is 6-for-20 with three steals in his first six games.
  • Luke Scott would be open to negotiating a new deal with the Orioles if he's non-tendered, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.  Scott is projected to earn $6MM in arbitration.
  • Bobby Valentine expects to meet with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on Monday and could emerge as the favorite for the job if his meeting goes well, a source tells Jeff Passan of Yahoo (via Twitter).
  • Astros owner Jim Crane is prepared to make a swift decision on the futures of president Tal Smith and GM Ed Wade, writes Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle.
  • There are team executives who are furious with aspects of the new labor agreement, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney.  Some believe that MLB's new draft structure hurts the league's small-market and mid-market clubs.  One GM told Olney that the changes don't solve any problems and actually make some worse.

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

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.