Former Oriole Luke Scott signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Rays yesterday. Scott, who has been out of the country until just recently, was an Oriole from 2008 – 2011, and was voted the Most Valuable Oriole in 2010. As you might remember, he was hindered by injuries last season when he hit only .220 with nine big bops. Scott came to the Orioles in a trade with the Houston Astros which ultimately sent Miguel Tejada packing from Baltimore following the 2007 season. Scott is expected to serve as Tampa’s DH this season, replacing Johnny Damon.
Count me as a Luke Scott fan during his time with the Orioles. He seemed to become an instant fan favorite on opening day 2008 when he was announced to the crowd while they shouted “Luuuuke!” Scott did certainly have his peaks and valleys in terms of hitting while with the Orioles. He would go through weeks where he’d barely hit the ball out of the infield, only to hit three or four homers the next week. Furthermore, he wasn’t one to stray away from controversy. Most famously he said in December of 2010 that he didn’t think President Barrack Obama was born in the United States, which turned into a mini-controversy. However having seen Scott on numerous occasions at the ballpark and having seen how he interacts with fans, it was obvious that he was about as docile as they come. He’d sign for fans as often as he could, and he was never shy about talking to people.
Having said that, I don’t think that the Orioles made a mistake in letting him go. Luke Scott is a 33-year old utility player coming off of major surgery. If the idea is for the Orioles to build a young core, he doesn’t exactly fit the mold. Again, Luke Scott was a fan favorite, and I’ll always value the time he spent with the Orioles. However perhaps part of our problem in Baltimore is that we get too attached to some players. We’re hesitant to support the front office either trading them away or allowing them to walk via free agency due to the fact that we like them so much. I’m not suggesting that anyone should be traded or let go, however it is something to think about. The Rays and Luke Scott will make their first trip to Camden Yards over the weekend of May 11-13th. Hopefully Luke Scott will be warmly received by the Orioles’ faithful.
Follow me on Twitter @Domenic Vadala