After a season where he was limited to 64 games and batted just .220, the Orioles decided not to tender a 2012 contract to outfielder Luke Scott. Last season, Scott was slowed by a torn labrum and wasn’t able to get things going offensively the way the O’s were hoping. So, this didn’t come as much of a surprise considering he would be making close to $6 million through arbitration next season. Manager Buck Showalter said he hopes the organization can work something out with Scott, but there hasn’t been any specific discussions as to what will happen.
Scott, who was named the 2010 Most Valuable Oriole after batting .284 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI, was a popular player in the clubhouse as well as with fans. The “Luuuuuuke” chant was a regular occurrence when Scott stepped in the batter’s box at Camden Yards. His popularity had some to do with his friendly personality toward the media and fans, but the tears he would go on throughout the course of the season were a part of it as well. Scott went through stretches as an Oriole when it just seemed like nobody could get him out. Conversely, he also went on some tough stretches where he couldn’t buy a hit, too.
Scott was definitely one of a kind, both on and off the field. And just as popular as he was with fans, who actually gave him a standing ovation on his 33rd birthday this past June, he was not as popular with Obama supporters when he implied the current president wasn’t born in the United States. He was never afraid to express his views on touchy subjects, whether it was politics or religion, or get on people who didn’t share the same beliefs as him.
On the field, Scott was a valuable addition to the O’s when he came here in December 2007. He was acquired by the O’s in a deal that sent then-Oriole Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros for five players, one of which was Scott. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2001, but didn’t hit the big leagues until 2005, when he played in 34 games with the Astros. Since then, he has averaged in the mid-20’s in homers and around 70 RBI per season.
Scott’s locker room presence and play on the field will be missed, but the O’s needed to make a decision and I think they made the right one in this situation. The risk wasn’t worth the reward when it came to keeping Scott around considering the money he was due to make. But hopefully the O’s and Scott can work out a deal for a lesser salary so he can come back and play for the O’s next season.
Submitted by Steve Giles