Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is reporting (via Twitter) that the Rays have reached an agreement with James Loney. Terms of the deal are not yet available.

[Update: Jim Bowden of ESPN Radio is reporting that it is a 1-year deal for $2 million with $1 million in incentives.]

Loney, who will be 29 next season, split the 2012 season between the Dodgers and Red Sox, hitting .249 with 6 home runs, a and a .293 OBP (.272 wOBA). His best season came in 2011 when Loney hit .288 with 12 home runs and a .339 OBP (.328 wOBA). He is also a strong defensive first baseman.

In his career, he has a .351 OBP against righties (.302 OBP vs LHP) and will likely be used as the left-handed half of a first base platoon.

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21 Comments

  1. Drew says:

    F*ck. Seriously?

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  2. don says:

    Glad we got rid of Kotchman he could out hit Pena & Loney even if half blind....guarantee he would have signed a two year deal with the Rays for $2mil yr. to stay at home,Rays could have used Pena's other $5 mil to sign a hitting SS or catcher.
    but what do I know, says Joe M.

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    • Raysfan137 says:

      Kotchman's career Avg. / OBP / Slugging for 3391 PA: .262/.328/.388

      Loney's career Avg. /OBP / Slg for 3484 PA: .282/.339/.419

      Loved Kotchman, but you can't be blinded by his single outlier season he had with us. As you can see, he hasn't out hit Loney, half blind or not.

      And, I suspect another move comes for a right hander to platoon at 1B. Or if not, just Loney repeating his numbers from last year is a major upgrade over Pena's last season.

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    • Alex says:

      Yea Kotchmans .229 avg and 12 hr would have helped us tremendously last year. Don , do you even believe what you say most of the time?

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      • Raysfan137 says:

        Don's the king of the knee jerk reaction. He's a loyal Rays fan, he's just mired in eternal pessimism. I get the "brotherhood of discontent" thing sometimes too.

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  3. phil says:

    good d better than what they currently have ...Rays talking to the Nats!

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  4. Nick says:

    Rays should be able to pick up Morse from the Nats for not much...

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  5. Beazy says:

    A .280 hitter, that was mentioned for ROY only 5 years ago, and is a very good defensemen, for only a mill, sounds like a good deal, especially if he outperforms like most Rays newbies!

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  6. phil says:

    hoping for Tyler Moore 1st/of, lombardozzi (ss/2nd) and one of their catchers plus an OF prospect for Shields!

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  7. Dave L says:

    That's our Rays.

    Just as I predicted a Grade C free agent. At $1mil per he has to be one of the lowest paid 1st baseman in MLB.

    I guess the hope is by mostly playing him against RHP his averages will go up. Personally I like Kepp as the 1st baseman against lefties with other duties at DH and possibly some 2nd.

    The broken leg thing increases our chances of keeping hum. Falling down stairs is kind of a euphemism some wont want to touch all things being equal.

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    • Raysfan137 says:

      There's actually some positive points to what you're saying here. Why do you think Keppinger's numbers were so good last year ? A non-trivial part of it is certainly that he was used in the right way most of the year. Of course later in the year when we were getting desperate for someone to put wood on leather, he played more. But I'll bet that's when his numbers went down a little.

      Yes, Loney, and some other Rays signings often seem like dumpster diving. But that's because at this stage we're judging them at face value, assuming we're looking at an everyday player. Don't forget SRod can play first and, when given the at bats, isn't half bad against lefties. Hmmmm ? Or perhaps another signing like Kep ? Or perhaps they still work something out for Morse ? Lot's of possibilities here. Good news is we have someone who can play 1B and hit righties better than Carlos did last year.

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  8. Raysfan137 says:

    On another note, Geovanny Soto was on the market until the Rangers just re-signed him. I'm surprised we didn't jump on him since his .198 BA last year was below the maximum allowed for a Rays catcher….. sorry, figured Don needed some company ;)

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  9. J 2.0 says:

    Loney is only 29 next year. He had a down year, but the guy averages .280 10-15 hr 75-90 rbi a year. That's not too bad. Keppinger will not be back. Which is why we signed Fontenot. I personally like Danny Espinosa, but am not as big of a fan of Morse.

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  10. ed says:

    Ok , I am not asking the rays to sign josh hamilton, but can they at least sign somebody that the average fan has heard about. I think they proved last year that pitching alone isn't going to get you to the playoffs. Who knows maybe if they had some other big names who can hit the fans will come out to the games. Never mind, forget that last sentence, anyway i know thier payroll can't be that much. Anyway still a rays fan always will be. I am just getting tired of hearing how bad the rays have it payroll wise, if you can't afford it you shouldn't have bought it. Oh well , hope everyone has a merry christmas.

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  11. Steve says:

    Excellent signing for the price!

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  12. MJ says:

    I dont know why anyone should be upset by this signing. This is a buy low option that could pay off.

    Does a 162 game avg stat line of .282, .339, .419, 13 HR, 80 RBI, with a solid SO:BB rate of 1.55, supposedly very good defensive skills at 1b, and the proven ability to play 145+ games really sound that bad for $2mil?

    Sure Loney has been trending downward recently, but that's why he's had for 2 mil at age 29. Not to mention his babip has been unusually low the last 3 years, at .241 last year.

    I think its a good signing and i'm curious to see how it pans out.

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  13. Craig says:

    I like James Loney. This is a good deal for the Rays. Maybe deep down a lot of people are disappointed because they thought the Rays would be able to pull in a power hitter and Loney is definitely not that. In a platoon role, he'll provide an all-around upgrade from last year though. Let's see what else comes our way. My (perhaps delusional) fantasy of seeing Fat Elvis come to the Rays still hasn't died completely.

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  14. ed says:

    according to the tampa times, joe torre said " defensively he is a plus and offensively he is a mystery". Yep he will fit the rays perfectly. I am sure Derek Shelton will help him out.

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    • don says:

      Joe was trying to be nice he meant "liability" but OUR joe likes..
      Defensive Skills at 1st...hitting 2nd...its worked in the past....

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