While Tampa Bay Rays’ fans can rejoice in knowing Andrew Friedman is still the
mastermind behind the two percent of genius on One Tropicana Drive, it still would have
been intriguing to see what he could have done with a substantially larger salary cap in
Chicago, Houston or Los Angeles.
Nevertheless, the 35-year-old former Tulane baseball outfielder is still the Executive Vice
President of Baseball Operations and the Rays are still in good hands (sorry All State
Insurance guy with the deep voice).
Case in point: on Thursday, Friedman announced on a conference call with the media
that the team will still be “very active in looking for a bat,” even after the Rays officially
announced the signing of former Orioles outfielder Luke Scott and a little over a month
after the organization brought in catcher Jose Molina.
Friedman said Scott, despite the surgery last July to fix the torn labrum in his right
shoulder, “is physically able to (be the designated hitter) and play first and he will be able
to play in the outfield when he’s physically able to.”
“There also is the possibility that he could play first on Opening Day as well,” Friedman
Scott tried to play through the torn labrum at the beginning of the season last year, but
after hitting .220 with nine homers and 22 RBIs in 64 games, he decided to have season-
ending surgery in July.
After the Rays consulted with Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, and team
doctors and trainers, who put Scott through a physical which the 33-year-old passed,
Friedman felt confident in inking the native Floridian and former Deland High School
“Luke has established himself as one of the better power hitters in baseball, with
consistent success in a variety of roles against both right- and left-handed pitchers,” said
Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “He’s shown he can
perform in the American League East and we expect him to be healthy and productive
again in 2012.”
Over his three previous seasons (2008-10), Scott batted .269 with a combined 84 doubles and 75 home runs. Only three American Leaguers—and no other left-handed
hitters—matched those numbers over that span: Evan Longoria, Miguel Cabrera and
Mark Teixeira. His best season came in his most recent full season, 2010, when he was
named the Orioles’ Most Valuable Player after he batted .284 and had a .535 slugging
percentage with 29 doubles, 72 RBI and a team-high 27 home runs, fifth most among AL
Scott fits in with manager Joe Maddon’s approach in that he can play multiple positions.
Over the past three seasons with the Orioles, he has played in 41 games and started in 37
of them at first, where he had a .987 fielding percentage and had just four errors in 315
Friedman said the team will still look for another offensive bat to add to the lineup,
“either on the right-handed side or the left.”
“We don’t like to pigeon-hole ourselves into an exact applicant pool,” Friedman said.
“We want to line up the best player we can in terms of the best offensive fit within the
offensive unit and the best defensive fit for the defensive unit.”
Friedman noted that, despite all the discussion about the Rays’ financial limitations, he is
not hamstrung on his decision-making.
“We don’t have that hard and fast rule in terms of numbers and we won’t approach what
we do based on that,” Friedman said. “Numerous years are intertwined so we are open to
pursuing things based on a lot of good options on both fronts (in terms of player ability
and contract structure).”
While Scott has the ability to play first base and in spite of several players taking ground
balls at the position on Wednesday during workouts in Tropicana Field (including Matt Joyce and Reid Brignac), Friedman said the possibility to still add a full-time first-
baseman is there.
“We want to be as flexible as we can and try and end up with the best roster we can
configure,” Friedman said.
The Rays have been rumored to be interested in Casey Kotchman and Carlos Pena at
Based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Chris Girandola has been a sports journalist for over eight years and is currently the Rays Senior Writer for RaysDigest.com. His other writing credits include the Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times, Naples News, Florida Football Magazine, KentuckyBasketball Magazine, and Tampa Bay Business Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at @cgrand
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