Luke Scott is gone for now, but he may still return to Tampa Bay. That, at least, is the word out of the Rays front office on Thursday, after they did not pick up a $6 million club option on Scott's contract to bring him back next season (courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times):
"We have enough decisions to make on the position-player side that each decision we make has a domino effect, so we just didn't want to make any decision right now that would push us in any one certain direction," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We have a lot of guys to potentially add, so we felt like [declining Scott's option] gave us the most flexibility."
It's not all bad news for the veteran OF/DH, as Tampa Bay will give him a $1 million buyout for his troubles.
The 34-year old hit .229/.284/.439 in his first season with the Rays, but he also spent 45 games on the disabled list with a variety of ailments.
The Rays said they will be keeping their options open when it comes to bringing back Scott later in free agency, but his $5 million paycheck last season was a huge investment for the small-market franchise. And with such a (relatively) small payroll in comparison to their AL East competitors, they can't afford to leave any stone unturned when it comes to maximizing the money they spend on veteran players.