Luke Scott‘s 2012 season with the Tampa Bay Rays did not go as planned. He struggled through injuries and managed just a .229/.285/.439 line including an 0-for-31 stretch. But he had a strong finish to the year, managing a .283/.339/.505 line in his last 109 plate appearances, and he Rays believe that Scott’s strong finish is only the start of what he can provide to their ballclub. On Wednesday, the Rays finalized their contract to bring back Scott for 2013. He will receive a $2.75MM base salary plus the opportunity to earn $700,000 in incentives. Scott is excited to have the opportunity to come back and is confident that much better results are on the way for him next season. Entering 2012, the Rays knew that Scott was dealing with a shoulder injury. But now, Scott is finally healthy, describing himself “as strong as a bull,” and if he’s truly healthy the ability is still there for Scott to be a well above-average major league hitter. The last time he was completely healthy in a season, 2010, Scott managed a .284/.368/.535 line (144 OPS+) for the Baltimore Orioles with 27 home runs in 131 games. Considering he’ll turn 35 next season, it’s unlikely that Scott still has that potential, but he can still can be an excellent hitter in the middle of the Rays lineup. And although Scott will be the Rays’ primary DH, his newfound health will also allow the Rays to use him quite a bit more often in the field playing first base and left field after he played in just 6 games in the field in 2012. A reunion between Scott and the Rays worked out perfectly for both sides, and if Scott can stay healthy, something that seems as likely as ever now that he’s coming into the year healthy, the potential reward could be enormous.
To accommodate Scott on their 40-man roster, the Rays designate right-handed reliever Dane De La Rosa for assignment. De La Rosa, who turned 30 a few days ago, managed a 12.50 ERA in 5 relief appearances with the Rays but a 2.79 ERA, an 87-42 strikeout to walk ratio, and 20 saves in 67.2 innings pitched at Triple-A Durham. De La Rosa touches 95 MPH with his fastball, but struggles with his control and secondary pitches, and that has prevented him from cracking the Rays’ bullpen for any extended period of time. There’s a good chance that De La Rosa will pass through waivers and remain in the Rays organization.