2010 was a good year for Luke Scott. Scott, 32 at the time, hit a career high 27 home runs and had an average of .284, the highest he had ever had in a full season. Orioles’ fans had high expectations for the Orioles MVP in 2011- maybe 30 home runs or 85 runs batted in?
However, 2011 did not turn out like O’s fans were hoping. Scott only played in 64 games and finished with only nine home runs and 22 runs batted in. The main reason for Scott’s ineffectiveness was because of injuries. A torn labrum hampered Scott for the majority of the season. He underwent season-ending surgery on July 26th.
So here is the question: Do we tender Luke Scott a contract?
The answer: No. If we tendered him a contract it would be for $6 Million next season. That is a lot of money to give to someone coming off an injury.
However, I do believe we re-negotiate a deal with Scott. Scott himself even said that he was willing to negotiate a deal with the O’s even if they non-tendered him. Bringing in Scott in a one or two-year deal worth about 2 or 3MM a year is a good idea for the Orioles. The least we could do is sign him to an incentive-laden one-year deal.
Yes, I know Scott is a very poor defender in left-field. Scott posted a -0.4 defensive WAR in ’09, -0.1 in ’10, and -0.3 in ’11. Nolan Reimold also has a chance to be the everyday left fielder for good this year. Scott also will turn 34 in 2012 and no one knows how well he will respond from shoulder surgery. These are the only downfalls to bringing Luke Scott back.
There are plenty of reasons to bring Scott back in 2012 though. Scott has potential to be a bounce-back candidate next year. Scott could be a good designated hitter and play a little first base for the O’s. In 2010 he posted a 3.5 offensive WAR. Besides statistics, Scott is a fan-favorite among the O’s and is a good locker-room presence.
The O’s should non-tender him because he will earn $6MM, but they should definitely try to negotiate a contract with him if he is willing to play for less money. Scott could be an everyday DH for the Orioles as well as interchange with Mark Reynolds at first base.