James Loney

James Loney is still on the Rays’ roster and that may be a bad thing that could get worse.

It is no secret that the Rays have too many bats that are limited to first base or the corner outfield spots. It has long been assumed that the odd-man out will be Loney and his $8 million salary. But despite an optimistic Matt Silverman noting that trades in spring training have become easier in recent years, Loney is still on the team and with three weeks to go until the regular season the Rays will have to make a move soon.

Marc Topkin discussed this topic and noted that the Rays may end up just having to cut Loney and eat his $8 million salary.

Loney has been without a position since the Rays acquired Morrison and Steve Pearce to play first and Corey Dickerson to DH. They seem set on trading him, willing to eat at least some of his $8 million salary, and, if they can’t find a partner, conceivably even releasing him.

The Rays are not a team that likes to throwaway assets for nothing in return, especially one making $8 million. How much is that? Consider Loney takes up roughly 13% of the Rays’ entire $60 million payroll. That is significant because you can sign two decent relief pitchers for that much in free agency. Instead, the Rays may end up getting nothing in return for their money.

Topkin does note that the Rays could decide to trade Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer to open up a spot for Loney. But at this point, is any team giving up anything of value for either of those players, other than the opportunity for the Rays to keep their overpriced first baseman?

Probably not.

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9 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    With the questionable defense of Miller, I'd almost rather keep Loney and try to move Morrison. Yes, Loney lacks power but he'd provide a level of comfort at first, and would still be able to platoon with Pearce. Despite being injured a lot last year, he still put up league average OBP, and with a healthy platoon season, can probably slash a little higher. Obviously the money is a factor w/ Loney, but moving Morrison would still save over $4 million. It sounds a lot better than just dumping Loney for nothing.

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  2. angry buddha says:

    I can't see any chance that the Rays cut Loney and eat $8M.

    If they're not able to make a trade, someone's going to end up with a sore left roster spot coming out of Spring Training and all of this is going to work out just fine.

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  3. monte says:

    So what if Loney has no power. Neither did Mark Grace and he had a great career with the Cubs.

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    • Rob says:

      Grace had gap power and hit a lot of doubles. He ended his career with an .825 OPS vs Loney's current .749.

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      • monte says:

        Good point.
        Isn't it interesting too in a comparison of the two over a 162 game average, Loney has 46 walks and 74 strikeouts while Mark Grace had 78 walks and 46 strikeouts?

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  4. Drew says:

    It will be interesting to see what they do. Certainly not worth the $8mil and I can't see anyone wanting to trade for him. What NO ONE can argue is he had a very bad season in 2015. Below average in all aspects of the game. 2013 (first year with the Rays) was his last average/above average season. I don't think we can ever expect that again, even if injuries derailed his 2015 season.

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  5. ajno says:

    WOW! thats amazing! Loney has had a negative WAR the last two years?!?!? and has a .280 avg? even his dWAR is negative, and i thought he was supposed to be a Defensive Wizard?!?!?!?!

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  6. Jason says:

    With Adam LaRoche possibly retiring, the White Sox may need to look outside the organization for a first baseman.

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  7. doug says:

    They won't let Loney walk! He is too valuable defensively and is not a liability offensively. The most likely result now is to option Souza who still must fix holes in his swing to be anything more than a certain out. If Souza is optioned the roster does not need any other tweeking except at catcher to start the season. All other Loney dispositional options remain in place, and the depth to protect against further injury to Pearce, Jennings, etc is enhanced by keeping Loney as the first base option for now.

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