Leave it to Luke Scott to take his act to a swing state during an election year.
Oh we kid, we kid. While it's easy to make jokes about baseball's most famous birther, it's also easy to see why Scott is heading back to his home state of Florida. The Tampa Bay Rays were looking for a designated hitter loaded with potential value and Scott had the type of crappy 2011 that could make him a bargain.
After posting a couple of underrated seasons with the Baltimore Orioles — including a .902 OPS mark in 2010 — Scott struggled with a torn labrum in 2011. The injury limited him to a paltry season line of nine homers, 22 RBIs and a .703 OPS over 64 games and led to him being non-tendered by a Baltimore team he had called home since 2008.
It isn't yet known how much the Rays will pay Scott, but Marc Topkin of the St. Pete Times reports that the one-year deal contains an option year for 2013.
Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman is clearly looking for the 2007-10 version of the 33-year-old. That four-year period saw Scott average 23 homers and 70 RBIs each season while posting a collective .847 OPS. If the Rays were able to nab Scott for, say, $5 million — the O's paid him $6.4 million in his second-to-last year of arbitration — it will be a calculated risk worth taking.
As for Scott's famous political beliefs, he tells Topkin he'll be focusing on baseball in 2012 while also continuing to support "the principles this country was founded on."
Think he can support a Mormon named Mitt?