There is a chance that James Shields won’t pitch another game for the Rays, but it won’t be because the Rays decided to just let him walk. According to Marc Topkin, the Rays have informed Shields that they will pick up his $10.25 million option for next season. That is indeed a hefty sum (~17% of the projected payroll). But if the Rays do decide they don’t like the price, they will trade him for chips.

Of course, the bigger question is what the Rays will do with their other options. Jose Molina ($1.8M) seems like a lock to be back. Luke Scott ($6M), however, is a more interesting question.

Obviously the Rays would prefer to have Scott back at a cheaper price. But to do that, they will have to buyout the option ($1M) and then re-sign him for less than $5 million. At that point, you are probably getting closer to what other teams might be willing to offer. The problem is, if the Rays buy out Scott’s option and he signs with another club, you are talking about losing one of the best bats (when healthy) on a team that is already desperate for offense.

On the other hand, if the Rays thought Scott was worth $6 million in 2012 ($5M salary + $1M buyout) knowing he was coming off of an injury, why wouldn’t they think he was worth $6 million in 2013? And with the loss of BJ Upton and possibly Carlos Pena, you can make a case that the Rays need Scott more this season than they did last year.

I’m still torn on this one, as I think you can make a strong argument for either option. But it definitely isn’t as clear-cut as some seem to think it is.



  1. don says:

    Let me get this right the Rays told Shields NOTHING he Didn't already Know, They are going to pay him what they owe him but if something(one) comes along cheaper...Goodbye Buddie..
    They would consider paying Luke Scott $6mil, who couldnt out hit Keppinger in 100 years, plus Kepp can play anywhere in infield, Scott never got off the bench in 2012....
    Let Me tell you Rays once again Sign Kepp, I don't care if its $5 mil...there are no Available hitters like him out there, He wants to stay...What is your problem??

    • Ken says:

      On target Don. Kepp much more valuable than Pena and Scott combined. Hold Shields for another year and get rid of hellboy while he still has value. Boras will never let him sign long term with the Rays anyway. He should yield one, possibly two MLB ready players.

  2. Tom says:

    I do not nderstand the love for Scott. He is 35 and has put up OPS of .703 and .724 the past 2 years while not having value on defense. I suppose he could come back to 2008-2010 levels but I would not want to bet on it.

  3. Dave L says:

    When you bid for the services of a free agent, you only need to bid higher than the next highest bidder assuming all else is equal.

    Who else could be in the market for Luke Scott? I would think the NL will take a pass on a guy who played virtually no defense in 2012 who is fragile and still got hurt. When we got him he was coming off and injury shortened season with the orioles. What did we get? Another injury shortened season. His overall MLB value decreased substantially.

    I want Scott back definitely, when he was healthy he along with Joyce were the most productive lefty power bats we had.

    But no need to overpay. No one will offer him more than 1 year if anyone offers anything. Let him walk, dip his toe in the free agent waters, then resign him for about 3 mil on a 1 year deal.

    I hate to have to think like a cheap charlie on this but we have to find some way to cobble together a 2013 roster which will still allow for another tidy 20 mil profit for our owner.


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