News broke on Wednesday that the Rays had reached a deal with free agent slugger Luke Scott, and it hasn’t taken long for both sides to finalize the agreement. The Tampa Bay Rays have now officially announced that they have signed Scott to a one-year deal for $5 million, with a $6 million option for 2013 ($1 million buyout).
At first blush, that seems like a large chunk of money for the Rays to guarantee for a 33-year-old designated hitter that’s coming off shoulder surgery. But when you put it in perspective, the Rays are essentially paying Scott the same amount that they paid Johnny Damon last season…only Scott is younger and has more offensive upside than Damon. The Rays are going to be in the running for a playoff spot (and they hope to go deep into the playoffs, unlike the past two years), so every bit of talent they add is extra valuable.
So can the Rays expect Scott to hit for Damon’s line from last season (.261/.326/.418, .743 OPS)? Considering that Scott has averaged an .811 OPS over the past three seasons (and yes, that’s including his injury-plagued 2011), I think it’s a safe assumption that Scott should be an improvement over Damon if he’s healthy.
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