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Report: Tampa Bay Rays close to re-signing Luke Scott

More good news?

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Fresh on the heels of re-signing Kyle Farnsworth to a one-year deal, the Rays are set to return Designated Hitter Luke Scott, according to Marc Topkin:

Luke "I Boar Hunt With Spears" Scott performed decently through injury last season. Coming off shoulder surgery in 2011, Scott carved mutton chops on his cheeks and slugged a .247 ISO against RHP in 2012, and in spite of oblique and back injuries hampering his season, boasted a 122 wRC+ in almost 300 PA's against righties.

Scott also performed better in at Tropicana field than on the road, with a .268/.320/.486 slash line at home against right handed pitching, including a 22.3 LD% under the dome (as opposed to 14.5% on the road). He even scored better strikeout rates at home: 17.2 K% in the Trop, versus 32.1% elsewhere. The man seems built for the Trop.

If there is a downside, the Rays must now compliment two players with LHP hitting counterparts. Luke Scott's 33 wRC+ and 1B James Loney's 39 wRC+ against lefties in 2012 scream for a platoon. Sean Rodriguez can fill one of those roles, he batted a 95 wRC+ against LHP's in 2012, and the other platoon could be filled by outfielder Shelley Duncan - a recent minor league signing by the Rays, who has fairly neutral (and league average) splits - but time will tell.

While the Rays do have an Upton-shaped hole in the outfield that has yet to be filled (assuming Myers starts in AAA), expect the Wolverine to return as the primary DH. Although he is a former outfielder, Scott never touched grass while playing in Tampa Bay last year - but he did log 41.0 innings at 1B.

Scott last started as an everyday LF in 2008, and averaged 200 innings in the outfield from '09-'11. If Joe Maddon is in a bind (like last year's injury riddled season), it's possible that the Rays could use Scott in the outfield or at first base, but let's hope it doesn't come to that again.

The Rays have already invested in Luke Scott through training and rehabilitation for a full year, so there is no team out there as intimately involved with Luke Scott's medicals as the Rays, and I doubt the Rays would sign Scott again if they had any deep concerns. Under the Rays' tutelage, Scott has developed into a "true" DH. If he stays healthy, Scott may prove to be the most productive free agent DH signing of the off-season.