Luke Scott's Option Declined

US PRESSWIRE

Halloween has provided many free agents for the Rays consideration, including Luke Scott.

The Rays declined their $6M option on Luke Scott -- preferring his $1M buyout to overpaying for injuries -- while they exercised options for James Shields, Fernando Rodney, and Jose Molina, as expected.

It's quite possible the Rays designated hitter could return for a lesser price. Scott batted .229/.285/.439 with 14 homers and was more than competent against RHP.

Season

Split

BB%

K%

BB/K

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

BABIP

wRC

wRAA

wOBA

wRC+

2012

vs L as L

4.2 %

27.4 %

0.15

.149

.211

.264

.475

.115

.183

3.1

-7.8

.213

32

2012

vs R as L

6.8 %

21.7 %

0.31

.260

.313

.507

.820

.247

.287

34.3

5.9

.345

122

Scott is an excellent candidate to be platooned by Tampa Bay, should he take sign for less money and return to the Rays, and many recent players to hit the market could interest the Rays as possible platoon partners:

1. Kevin Youkilis -- another injury filled year led to his $13M option to be declined by Chicago, and his production suffered from a .268 BABIP (.320 projected) in 2012. However, the Greek God of Walks is still an excellent defender at 1B, and has excellent splits against LHP, a complement to Scott.

Season

Split

BB%

K%

BB/K

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

BABIP

wRC

wRAA

wOBA

wRC+

2012

vs L as R

15.2 %

16.6 %

0.92

.275

.386

.492

.878

.217

.278

23.7

7.2

.376

135

2012

vs R as R

8.0 %

23.1 %

0.35

.220

.316

.377

.693

.157

.263

39.9

-1.6

.309

89

He'd be an expensive platoon player, but a healthy Youkilis is a serviceable hitter. For more on Youk's potential, read Michael Barr's analysis.

2. Travis Hafner -- hit .228/.346/.438 in 263 plate appearances, also dragged down by injuries. He has the potential to hit 30 home runs, but only managed 25 over the last two seasons.

Season

Split

BB%

K%

BB/K

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

BABIP

wRC

wRAA

wOBA

wRC+

2012

vs L as L

11.1 %

23.6 %

0.47

.197

.306

.443

.748

.246

.195

8.8

0.5

.324

107

2012

vs R as L

12.6 %

15.7 %

0.80

.241

.361

.437

.798

.196

.246

26.9

5.1

.348

123

He's an excellent candidate to pull a Lance Berkman, and could be platooned against RHP instead of Scott.

3. Casey McGehee -- electing free agency from the Yankees, the 29-year-old corner infielder has not been above replacement level since 2010.

Season

Split

BB%

K%

BB/K

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

BABIP

wRC

wRAA

wOBA

wRC+

2012

vs L as R

11.9 %

20.0 %

0.59

.231

.326

.419

.745

.188

.256

16.6

1.2

.326

105

2012

vs R as R

6.0 %

19.8 %

0.30

.209

.258

.323

.581

.114

.244

14.5

-10.2

.256

58

His career numbers show a lack for a platoon split, but last year McGehee was serviceable against LHP. He could be an option off the bench should Scott be retained. If tendered a contract by New York, he would have likely made shy of $3M.

4. Ryan Ludwick -- declining his $5M mutual option, the veteran OF is seeking a multi-year deal. Ludwick crushed more than 25 HR for the second time in his career last season, swinging .275/.346/.531 for the Reds.

Season

Split

BB%

K%

BB/K

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

BABIP

wRC

wRAA

wOBA

wRC+

2012

vs L as R

11.8 %

15.4 %

0.76

.263

.360

.576

.937

.314

.241

24.4

8.9

.397

149

2012

vs R as R

7.7 %

22.6 %

0.34

.280

.340

.513

.853

.234

.322

51.5

13.2

.364

127

Ludwick finished the season missing considerable playoff time due to a groin injury, and could be an interesting addition for the Rays as DH/OF like Johnny Damon before him. John Heyman reported the aging OF would like to return to Cincinnati about two weeks ago, so the Rays are likely out of the running. (Side note: If his career resurrection is a bit surprising, it should be noted that you can't spell Ludwick without "Luck".)

5. Mark Reynolds -- had his $11M option declined by Baltimore, but he is still under their control via arbitration until the end of the month. His .221/.335/.429 batting line leaves much to be desired, but he has no splits to speak of and could play DH consistently.

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