First baseman James Loney agreed to sign a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres on Thursday, sources told MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. ESPN’s Buster Olney confirmed the news.

The Tampa Bay Rays released Loney on Sunday after he had spent three years with the team.

Loney hasn’t provided much power at first base, which traditionally supplies pop in MLB lineups. In the past four years, he’s hit double-digit home runs just once.

The Rays were not satisfied with Loney’s performance and created a logjam at the position in the offseason, bringing in Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce, two more first basemen. Those acquisitions made Loney expendable.

San Diego, on the other hand, is in need of some help at first base, as Wil Myers, a natural outfielder, has been the team’s starter. As Olney pointed out, Loney’s signing can eventually return Myers to the outfield, where he can back up Matt Kemp, Jon Jay or Melvin Upton Jr.

Through the first three games of the season, Myers has just two hits in 11 at-bats, but that doesn’t mean much given his entire team’s struggles. San Diego did not score a single run in its opening three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who recorded 25 runs. 

Loney, who has a .285 career batting average, could inject some offense into San Diego’s anemic lineup if he does join the big league club.

A change of scenery to the West Coast could be beneficial. Loney spent seven-plus seasons with the Dodgers, hitting .284 with 71 home runs and 451 RBI during the most productive years of his career.

But his numbers over the last few years don’t suggest he’ll be able to kick San Diego’s struggling offense into gear.


Stats courtesy of

Read more MLB news on