There’s no place like home sweet home. Especially if you’re looking for a second chance. The Rays re-signed designated hitter Luke Scott this week to a one-year $2.75 million deal. Scott is looking to improve his game in 2013 after hitting only .229 in 96 games with the Rays in 2012. After undergoing shoulder surgery in 2011 while playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Scott continued to struggle in 2012, missing 45 games while being on the disabled list.
While Scott is confident that he is healthy and his offseason training is preparing him for improvements in 2013, not everyone is convinced that the 34 year old will show significant progress as much as Scott claims he can. His best season was in Baltimore in 2010, as he batted .284 with 127 hits in 131 games. He has potential to repeat those numbers in 2013 if his shoulder remains healthy. But, the DeLand, Florida, native is a fan favorite, charming everyone with his facial hair that looks like Wolverine’s mutton chops. Whether or not his bat is as explosive as he hopes, Rays fans will welcome the familiar face back to the nightly lineup.
Unfortunately, another fan favorite, Carlos Pena, signed with the Houston Astros this offseason after a less than perfect comeback in Tampa Bay. Rays fans welcomed Pena back with open arms when the Rays announced they were signing him to a one-year contract for 2012. Pena previously played with Tampa Bay from 2007-2010. When Pena delivered in the Rays’ 2012 season opener against the New York Yankees with a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning and a single in the ninth, fans thought Pena’ offensive dominance was back. Everyone hoped the combination of Pena and Longoria would give the Rays’ a deadly lineup. Although Pena played in 160 games last season and delivered his usual defensive prowess behind first base, he hit only .197 with a career high 182 strikeouts.
Pena gets another chance to redeem himself while embarking with the Astros in their first season in the American League. Hopefully the fresh start for he and his new team will boost Pena’s career again as Rays fans wish him the best of luck. With Scott back in Tampa Bay as well, only time will tell if his offseason training will pay off in 2013. While we wait to find out, fans are at least happy to see a familiar face in a lineup filled with a few new faces as well.