Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Luke Scott, Kyle Farnsworth set to return to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays apparently decided to stick with who they know, agreeing to re-sign designated hitter Luke Scott and reliever Kyle Farns­worth in deals expected to be completed next week.

In seeking to upgrade a lineup that lost the combined 47 homers hit by B.J. Upton and Carlos Peña, the Rays chose to bring back Scott, banking on increased production in his second season after shoulder surgery.

Scott, 34, hit .229 (including a team-record 0-for-41 streak) with 14 homers, 55 RBIs and a .724 on-base plus slugging percentage last season, limited to 96 games due to oblique and back injuries.

Terms were not available, but it should be for less than $5 million because the Rays previously declined Scott's $6 million option and paid him a $1 million buyout.

Though the Rays seemed to be exploring other options, they had maintained interest in and contact with Scott.

Other candidates still on the market after Delmon Young signed with the Phillies this week included Travis Hafner, Aubrey Huff, Carlos Lee, Juan Rivera and Jim Thome. Dan Johnson, a former Ray, took a minor-league deal with the Yankees on Thursday.

With Scott back, the Rays could still look to add another bat, either an outfielder or a right-handed hitting first baseman/DH. As they sit now, Ben Zobrist looks to be the primary rightfielder with Desmond Jennings in center, Matt Joyce (and others) in left and Ryan Roberts and/or Sean Rodriguez at second.

Farnsworth, 36, spent the past two seasons in the Rays bullpen, the follow-up to his sterling 2011 season (5-1, 2.18 ERA, 25 saves) cut in half due to an elbow strain diagnosed at the end of spring training. He returned June 30 and went 1-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 34 appearances.

He agreed to a one-year deal for a salary close to $1.5 million with the chance to earn up to another $1.5 million in incentives.

The deals might not be announced until next week because both players (who have injury histories) have to take physicals and the team has to create 40-man roster space.

Minor-leagues: The Rays kept their minor-league coaching staff relatively intact but shuffled mangers among their lower-level affiliates. They moved Brady Williams from Class A Bowling Green to advanced Class A Charlotte, Jared Sandberg from short-season Class A Hudson Valley to Bowling Green and Michael Johns from rookie-league Prince­ton to Hudson Valley. Jim Morrison goes from Charlotte to the Gulf Coast League team. Also, Paul Hoover went from GCL manager to catching coordinator, and Danny Sheaffer was hired at Princeton. For the full list, see tampabay.com/blogs/rays.

 
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