Tag: james loney

James Loney to Padres: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

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 Baseball-Reference.com.

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James Loney Released by Rays: Latest Comments and Reaction

The Tampa Bay Rays have released first baseman James Loney just ahead of their regular-season opener on Sunday, according to Bill Chastain of MLB.com.

The team had made the decision earlier this week, per Chastain, but waited to make the move as it was seeking to trade Loney before Sunday’s deadline to have its 25-man roster finalized.   

The Rays still owe Loney $8 million in base salary in 2016, per Spotrac, as he had one season left on a three-year, $21 million deal he signed in January 2014. 

Loney, 31, had been the Rays’ starter at first base the past three seasons, but his future seemed in doubt when the team added Logan Morrison, Steve Pearce and Corey Dickerson this offseason. 

“It was a difficult decision, but especially for a guy, he did a lot of good things for this organization over the last couple of years,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said, per Chastain. “He was a leader for us. He had some good seasons. But sometimes, we all know in this business, there’s decisions that need to be made.”

This spring, Loney hit .265/.286/.353 with zero home runs and one RBI in 34 at-bats over 12 games. He played in at least 155 games in each of his first two seasons in Tampa Bay but suffered injuries early in the 2015 season.

Loney wishes he could stick around as the Rays continue their rebuilding process but thanked the team for the opportunity, per Chastain:

The team was great. Obviously, I wish them the best. The guys were great. Loved my time here. Loved the organization, how they gave me a chance after 2012. But at the end of the day, you want to play in the big leagues and you want to win, obviously. So we’ll see how that goes.

 … I would have liked to win with these guys. But at the end of the day, it is a business. So those aren’t my decisions. I had nothing to do with that.

Loney should find another job, particularly early in the season as rosters continue to shuffle, but he may have to settle for a minor league contract. That might not be a huge issue for him, though, as he’s earned nearly $27 million over the course of his 10-year career, per Baseball-Reference.com.

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Grading the Tampa Bay Rays’ Moves So Far This Offseason

The Tampa Bay Rays have been relatively quiet, as usual, this offseason.

Some teams make big splashes in the offseason, signing expensive high-profile players, while others make ripples. The big splashes garner a lot of attention, are seen and heard from further distances and are projected to make a significant impact immediately.

Small ripples make less noise and attract a smaller national audience. Instead of a single large splash, multiple ripples need to be put together with the intent of building a sustained winner.

For small-market teams on a tight budget, like the Rays, ripples are the way business is conducted.

Grades for the offseason moves are based on the value received for the costs of the transaction. Average players who add depth who are signed to an average contract would be a good move compared to subpar performers signed to a long-term deal.

Here are the grades for the Rays’ offseason moves so far.


All statistics and salary numbers courtesy of baseball-reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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The Definitive Blueprint for a Successful Offseason by the San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants finished the 2013 season with a disappointing record of 76-86, 16 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

The work to rebuild the roster has already begun for the Giants and GM Brian Sabean.

First, the Giants signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90 million contract. Pence played in every game for the Giants and was their top overall offensive weapon this past season.

Pence led the Giants with 27 home runs, 99 RBI and 22 steals. He also hit .283, with an OBP of .339 and OPS of .822. Pence’s all-out hustle made him a fan favorite, and he made no secret about his desire to remain a Giant.

Following the Pence signing, Sabean locked in starting pitcher Tim Lincecum with a two-year deal for $35 million. Although the Giants may have overpaid Lincecum somewhat, the value he brings to the team is more than just on the field.

Lincecum finished his second consecutive down year, although 2013 was definitely an improvement over 2012, when he finished with an ERA of 5.18 and WHIP of 1.468. 

This past season, Lincecum tossed 197.2 innings, allowing 184 hits and 76 walks, while striking out 193. He is learning how to get outs without the same velocity he had earlier in his career.

At the age of 29, Sabean and the Giants are counting on Lincecum having at least two more solid years in a Giants uniform.

With Pence and Lincecum in the fold, there are five critical areas that remain for the Giants. How the Giants address these needs will be a major factor in their success in 2014.

Let’s take a definitive look at the five remaining moves the Giants need to make to give them the best chance of recapturing the glory they found in their world championship seasons of 2010 and 2012.

All stats are courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

All contract information is courtesy of baseballprospectus.com.

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Seattle Mariners: First Basemen Team Should Pursue This Winter

Contrary to what it may seem, the Seattle Mariners are a mess at first base. 

Justin Smoak was supposed to be Seattle’s first baseman of the future, but has been wildly inconsistent, even getting demoted to Triple-A for stints in each of the past two seasons. The relegations have helped, but he hasn’t made great strides in his offensive game. 

Dustin Ackley can play first, but may need to share time at second base or in the outfield next season, depending on who Seattle can sign in free agency. He’s also been disappointing and may be better suited for a utility role until further notice. 

First round pick D.J. Peterson will probably eventually be making the transition from third to first, but is in Single-A and won’t be seen in Seattle for at least another season or two.

Kendrys Morales is the ideal first baseman for the Mariners, although he was mostly a DH. He’s already said he won’t accept Seattle’s qualifying offer, but that doesn’t mean Morales won’t play for the Mariners next season. He’ll be tough to bring back, considering the limited power on the market, but his familiarity with the club and the organization could help Jack Zduriencik’s chances of bringing him back, or hurt them depending on their relationship.

Based on their career-long body of work and estimated salaries, here are free agent first basemen the Mariners should target this winter.

All stats via ESPN.com and baseball-reference.com.

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James Loney: Breaking Down Why 1B Shouldn’t Re-Sign in Boston

After one of the biggest trades in Major League Baseball history, James Loney has found himself on the Boston Red Sox with the weight of a failing organization resting on his shoulders.

With the failure of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford’s contract—not to mention whatever it was Josh Beckett thought he was doing—Loney will now be the face of all that failure.

While his 2012 wasn’t going great, a change of pace and the knowledge that he will be a free agent after this season will get the young star playing well to finish the season.

Once it’s over though, he should not re-sign with Boston.


The Boston Media

One of the toughest parts about playing for a team like the Boston Red Sox is the intense scrutiny from the fans and the media on everything that the players do on and off the field. As we saw over the last three seasons in Boston, it gets complicated at Fenway Park.

While every man hungers for chicken and beer from time to time, Loney must pass on possibly re-signing with the Red Sox because that isn’t his style. Loney has never been great with the media, and it will be much worse in Boston.

Loney will have a chance to see what it’s like in the town after such a huge trade, and he will choose for himself if the pressure put on him from all different sides is worth the glory he could have if they turn the organization around.

It won’t be worth it.


The Allure of Free Agency

As much as becoming a star for the storied Boston Red Sox would intrigue any baseball player, this is James Loney’s biggest chance to get a payday in his career. At 28 years old, this may be his last major contract and it needs to be huge.

That likely won’t come from Boston, so it’s time to test the waters and try to get the biggest paycheck he can.

Despite having a mediocre season, the turnover in the Dodger’s organization and uncertainty around 2012 will do that to a player. The hope for Loney and his next team will be that the change of scenery and stability will result in a career rejuvenation.

Loney’s got the skill to do it.


The Weight of This Trade

From now on in Boston, James Loney will always be the player traded for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.

Despite the fact that the real key in the trade was star prospect Ivan de Jesus going to the Red Sox, the Boston fans will always associate Loney with the bad deals that he cleared from the books.

No matter how much salary room for the team he helped create, his name will always be associated with the failure of those players and those contracts.

That’s something no player wants to deal with.


Check back for more on the Major League Baseball as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s MLB page to get your fill of all things baseball.

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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Late-Round Gems Who’ll Save Your Team

Fantasy owners who missed out on Jose Bautista and other monster bats need not worry—James Loney and more will still be available to add some seriously underrated pop to your lineup.

Each year, participants look for steals. The expectation is that these late-rounders produce just enough to suffice.

The players on this list will do more than that.

They’re that final piece—the one that transitions your squad from middle of the pack to top dog.

Best of all, you can sneak them late.


James Loney, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers

Loney is consistent for a .288 batting average, 160 hits, 12 home runs and 85 RBI.

These aren’t bad stats at all.

Loney turns 28 this season, so he’s now in the thick of his prime.

That being said, there are no more excuses for Loney not to burst through the ceiling he’s made for himself.

The Dodgers’ financial situation has been solved. He’s surrounded by talented players such as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. He’s playing in a contract year.

Loney is entering his seventh season in the majors. Look for him to produce his best season to date.

Projected 2012 stats: .292 BA, 179 hits, 19 HR, 94 RBI.


Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks

In just 48 games last season, Goldschmidt hit a respectable .250.

More impressively, he hit eight home runs and 26 RBI in the same span.

Furthermore, most of his production came late in the season, helping the Diamondbacks over the hump and into playoffs.

In four playoff games in 2011, he hit .438 with two home runs and six RBI.

Look for Goldschmidt, only 24 years old, to enter 2012 still hot.

His confidence is already high from last year and now he’s surrounded by an upgraded offense and pitching staff.

Goldschmidt will definitely be around late for you to steal.

Projected 2012 stats: .282 BA, 158 hits, 23 HR, 85 RBI.



Lucas Duda, RF, New York Mets

In just over half a season, Duda hit .292 with 88 hits, 10 home runs and 50 RBI.

He has the consistency to put up similar numbers in the same amount of games.

Duda will be a full-time starter in 2012, so all of his stats should rise with near 162 games.

One scouting report compares Duda’s production to that of Aubrey Huff, Raul Ibanez and fellow sleeper candidate Brennan Boesch.

With mumblings of David Wright possibly on the move, Duda may be forced into being “the guy” for the Mets.

For Duda, that’ll be even better.

Projected 2012 stats: .285 BA, 141 hits, 18 HR, 88 RBI.


Colby Rasmus, CF, Toronto Blue Jays

Rasmus is a consistent hitter who is only getting better with age.

Lucky for fantasy owners, he’s only 25 years old. His production should continue to rise.

In 35 games with the Blue Jays last season, Rasmus hardly dazzled.

But coming over late in the season from the eventual World Series champions to an out of contention AL East team could plague anyone’s season with letdown.


2012 is Rasmus’ time to shine.

The Blue Jays are poised to surprise many this year.

The team has patiently put together a young team of studs who can compete with the best. The addition of another wild-card spot helps those chances too.

Surrounded by talent, the expectation is that Rasmus will contribute at a high level.

He’s shown he can do it.

In his best season at 23 years old, he hit .276 with 23 home runs, 66 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Look for Rasmus to produce similar, if not, better numbers in every category this season.

Projected 2012 stats: .279 BA, 152 hits, 19 HR, 79 RBI.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Los Angeles Dodgers: 9 Innings of Trade Candidates for James Loney

After a disappointing 2010 campaign, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed first-baseman James Loney only to a one-year deal.

With a decrease in home-runs and batting average each of the last four seasons, anything more than a one-year deal may have been questioned.

So, the question remains; Should the Dodgers give him one more year to get back on track, or put him on the trade block?

Well, here are some potential candidates if L.A. chooses the latter. 

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James Loney: Lots of Production, Little Pop…Do RBI Measure Offensive Ability?

The RBI (runs batted in) is a major stat in baseball, but fans and experts debate whether it is meaningful in determining a player’s offensive worth.

James Loney of the Los Angeles Dodgers is a good example of the debate. In 2010, Loney batted just .261 with 10 home runs, but had 88 RBI.

Were Loney’s 88 RBI an indication of a solid contribution with the stick, or were they just a product of him hitting with many ducks on the pond? Baseball experts seem to disagree, and no right or wrong answer seems to exist.

Mike Petriello, a prominent Dodger blogger and creator of the blog “Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness,” says that RBI have no connection to how well a player can swing the bat, as they are too dependent on whether the batters before him reach base.

“The whole point of stats is that they’re supposed to show what a player did, and numbers like RBI (and pitcher wins) have too much noise from the influence of other players,” Petriello said.

Mychael Urban, a baseball insider for CSNBayArea, disagrees with Petriello and believes that a run-producer is a valuable asset to any team.

“Anyone who ignored the importance of driving in runs is asinine,” Urban wrote on Twitter.

Both sides of the coin may have some merit.

Ken Rosenthal, Senior Baseball Writer for Fox Sports, suggests that an argument can be made for both sides, but other baseball statistics are better indicators of a hitter’s ability.

“There is a real difference of opinion on this (on RBIs measuring a player’s offensive worth),” Rosenthal wrote on Twitter. “I say yes, stat has some value, but OBP/SLG mean more.”

Rosenthal’s assessment seems to make the most sense. Although the RBI statistic does not paint a complete picture in determining a player’s offensive worth, it does have an important value.

It takes some sort of hitting talent to drive in runners, regardless of how often people are on base when a player comes up or the team on-base percentage. Anyone who watched the 2009 Giants could clearly see the importance of a consistent RBI-producer.

The 2009 Giants often stranded runners on third with less than two outs. They could not get any runners in, no matter who was on base or how often men were on base. The Giants routinely squandered these golden opportunities.

James Loney was good at getting those runners in. He was able to take advantage of those situational at-bats, even when an out would produce a run.

Unlike most of the 2009 Giants lineup, he had the concentration and hitting ability to get a good pitch to drive to the outfield with runners at third and less than two outs. He could get that RBI hit when it mattered. He could get that RBI ground out with the infield back.

Sometimes the little things—e.g., the manufactured RBI—are what win ball games.

They may not be impressive, but they are just as important. The Giants improved their situational hitting drastically in 2010 and look what happened—they won a championship.

Loney only had 10 home runs, but that does not mean he is a bad hitter. In order to get 88 RBI with such little power, he had to be a smart situational hitter, trading an out for a run if necessary. He had to hit doubles and get those base hits with runners in scoring position.

Loney is a gap-to-gap Mark Grace-type hitter. He was fifth in the National League in doubles, with 41, which might have been a contributing factor toward the solid RBI total.

Regardless of his little power at a power position, Loney demonstrated enough competence at the plate to deliver quality situational at-bats.

Take someone like the Dodgers’ new acquisition Eugenio Velez and ask him to do the same thing Loney did, given that he has the same chances with runners on base as Loney did. Would he be competent enough to reach 88 RBI?

He would chase too many pitches out of the strike zone and would either strike out or pop out. He just does not have the offensive ability to do what Loney does on a consistent basis.

Although driving in runs is just one dimension in assessing a hitter’s offensive ability, it is an important one that cannot be ignored. Of course, a player’s batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, home run total, .OPS, and sabermetric statistics should also be examined when assessing a player’s offensive ability.

Still, someone who can drive in runs, but lacks in other offensive categories, still brings something valuable to the table—he can bring in runs when the situation calls for it.

Every team needs someone like this to win, but to determine if someone is a great hitter requires looking at more of his numbers.

Time to get out that book on advanced statistics.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Jose Reyes, James Loney and Other Latest Updates

MLB Spring Training has only just started, but the MLB buzz is continuous. There is already buzz about mid-season trades to come. There’s also already buzz about the free agents after this season.

Albert Pujols and C.C. Sabathia will probably continue to dominate the MLB buzz. There are some other buzz stories past Pujols and Sabathia, though.

Here are some of the latest buzz in the MLB world.

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