O's non-tender Scott but leave door open

O's non-tender Scott but leave door open

BALTIMORE -- As expected, the Orioles have non-tendered Luke Scott on Monday, opting against offering a contract to the outfielder -- who is coming off season-ending surgery -- but not completely closing the book on his return.

The 33-year-old Scott, who would have been eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, instead immediately becomes a free agent.

"He's had some good years for the club," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Scott, who was the team's MVP in 2010. "We'd like to see what the market is for him. We would like to keep the door open on that."

Scott, who has said that he would like to remain in Baltimore, underwent surgery in late July to repair SLAP and posterior tears in his right shoulder. The procedure, combined with the fact that he made $6.4 million last season, made him a prime candidate to be non-tendered, thus Monday's announcement is hardly a shock.

After his career year in 2010, Scott was plagued by shoulder pain -- a situation believed to have begun in camp -- and never looked comfortable at the plate this past season. In 64 games, he batted .220 with nine homers, 22 RBIs and a .703 OPS.

There's a chance the O's could work out a deal to keep Scott at a lesser rate, depending on how his rehab progresses and what other offseason moves the organization makes.

According to baseball's Basic Agreement, when teams tender contracts, they can't cut any more than 20 percent of what a player earned in salary and performance bonuses the previous season, or 30 percent of those figures during the past two seasons. Non-tendered players, however, can be re-signed by their teams at larger cuts.

In addition to Scott, the Orioles also declined to offer contracts to pitchers Jo-Jo Reyes and Willie Eyre before Monday's midnight ET deadline. Eyre was designated for assignment last week to make room for Dana Eveland on the team's 40-man roster. Monday's moves give Baltimore 38 players on the 40-man roster and it means the club will tender a contract to Brad Bergesen, who was a potential non-tender candidate, along with the rest of its arbitration-eligible players.

Reyes was claimed on waivers from Toronto in August, and the lefty pitched to a 6.16 ERA in nine games (five starts) for Baltimore. While originally acquired to add depth, the 27-year-old Reyes -- who was estimated to get a contract around $1.5 million in 2012 -- wasn't overly impressive, and the Orioles will look to find more value through free agency or trade.

A former fourth-round pick in the 2004 Draft, Bergesen is Super Two eligible, meaning -- based on previous service time -- he earns a fourth year of salary arbitration instead of the usual three. While Bergesen made the league minimum in 2011, he could make over $1 million in arbitration given his time as both a starter and reliever. Bergesen posted a 5.70 ERA in 34 games for the Orioles in 2011, including 12 starts, and ended the year 2-7.

The team tendered contracts to its other six arbitration-eligible players: outfielder Adam Jones, infielder Robert Andino and pitchers Eveland, Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson and Darren O'Day.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.