Luke Scott would have made at least $6 million in arbitration – and likely more – if the Orioles had offered him a contract this offseason.
They didn’t, primarily because he was coming off season-ending surgery and they thought it would be a risk to invest that much into a 33-year-old with a repaired right shoulder. They never made him a formal offer during the offseason either.
Their American League East counterparts, the Tampa Bay Rays, apparently weren’t as worried -- giving Scott a guaranteed $6 million in his new contract.
On Wednesday, Scott agreed to a $5 million, one-year deal with a 2013 option that includes a $1 million buyout. If it is picked up, his 2013 salary would be $6 million. All told, if he meets performance bonuses, the total package would be nearly $13 million. The Tampa Tribune first reported the annual figures.
Scott said his rehabilitation from the shoulder surgery is going well, he is ahead of schedule and “shouldn’t miss a beat.” He likely will DH initially, but said he should be able to throw from the outfield by “mid-May or June.”
Scott had a teleconference with Rays media today. Here are some quotes from the conference and also directly to The Sun:
Scott on going to Tampa Bay: “The decision wasn’t very difficult at all. Baltimore never made a formal offer, never really expressed much interest at all. Tampa, on the other hand, expressed extreme interest and was very excited to have me. And at the end of day, I want to be in a place and with an organization that is excited to have me.”
On leaving Baltimore: “Leaving Baltimore is difficult because I put in four years of my life there. The fans have been wonderful to me. I really appreciated the fans and the love they showed me. I’ll miss my teammates, of course. I built a really good relationship with my teammates. I desire the best for my teammates and for them to do well. At the end of the day, the game is a business and I am happy to be with the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s a great team, a great organization and I am glad to be a part of it.”
More on Baltimore to Tampa: “I spent four years in Baltimore and I bled orange and black. It’s time for a change. The Orioles decided to part ways. I respect their decision. I am moving on with my career, and I now bleed baby blue and white. My goal is to win a championship with them, form a bond with them. I wish the Orioles well, just not when they play us.”
On his 2011: “Last year was difficult for me personally with my shoulder. I was burned out trying to worry about things. So I relied upon my faith, my religion. I sat down in my room and prayed, ‘God, this is very difficult for me, and it’s also unknown. I trust your word and that you have my best interest at heart, and I am not going to worry about it.’ So I rehabbed and worked out and hunted and fished and finished some projects at my house. I got a lot done and didn’t worry about everything. It was out of my control.”
On any disappointment involving the Orioles: “I’m disappointed in the fact that I thought they would be interested. They said they would, but obviously, actions speak louder than words. But at the same time, I respect it is a business decision. They made the decision that was right for their team, and I respect that. It’s their choice; they have every right to make that choice. I’m on to a new chapter in my life.”
On the Rays organization: “They’re a great team, a great organization. They’re close to home. They were very passionate about me becoming a Ray. At the end of the day, I want to go somewhere where I’m going to be wanted. I give my heart and soul to this game and to the team that I’m with, and I want the same in return. I want the team to really want me as well.”
On comparing his managers in Baltimore to Rays manager Joe Maddon: “From what I know about Dave Trembley and Buck Showalter is that they’re both very serious about the game and it means a lot to them. Their goal is the same as everyone else’s. They want to win. They want to get the best from their players, and they want to finish on top. I’m sure Joe Maddon is the same way. That’s what this game is about.”
On fitting in with new teammates: “I don’t find it a problem. I’m a pretty easy guy to get along with. I’m a low-maintenance guy. I go and do my work and try to enjoy my teammates, and I respect everybody and I respect their beliefs. They’re my teammates. They’re like my brothers. They’re like my family. I’m going to spend more time with them than I will with my own family. So I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it.”