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The Rays are willing to press their luck with James Loney

Oct 11, 2013, 11:39 AM EDT

James Loney AP

James Loney‘s 2013 season was a pleasant surprise. And it sounds like the Rays are prepared to gamble that it, and not his miserable 2012 is more representative of what he’ll do going forward. The Tampa Tribune reports that the Rays are interested in re-signing their first baseman and Loney reportedly has an interest of staying in Tampa Bay too.

Loney was a bargain on a one-year, $2 million deal for 2013. He’ll likely command some interest on the free agent market this winter, but not excessive interest given that he’s a known quantity to most teams by now. When his average is up that and his good defense make him a useful, although by no means superior first baseman. When his average is down he’s a drag on your team.

That’s probably worth more than $2 million but less than bank-breaking dollars in this day and age. And if everyone is happy with that, it’s a decent enough match.

  1. baseballici0us - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    I like this – and I’ve always liked Loney. I think he was just tired of L.A where he was constantly criticized for not hitting 30 HRs every year.

    I think he’s a good player. Good for both of them.

  2. pisano - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    I’ll say one thing, he beats the hell out of Tex in NY, for a lot less money.

  3. indaburg - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I like this move. 2012 was an outlier year for Loney, when he got bit by the unlucky BABIP bug. This year, he got a bit lucky, but even if he reverts back to his norm, it’s better than what the Rays got out of Carlos Peña (except for 2007). While Loney is not your prototypical power hitting first baseman, he provides solid defense and production. His fWAR (2.7) this year also ranks him at just below Adrian Gonzalez and just above Allen Craig. Not bad company: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=1b&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0 (Chris Davis, unsurprisingly, ranks #1 on the list)

    • cur68 - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      There you go with that stat geek stuff. Why don’t you cite tWtW™ or Grit Factor™ (as measured in Eckstien Units™)? How’s Loney on those, eh? Does he have Heart™ or Accountability™? Is he a Good ClubHouse Guy™ (GCHG; or, expressed as fundamental units, what are his Clubhouse Presence Units, or CPUs™)?

      You stat-geeks and your tired, worn out, over used, nonsensical acronyms. “BABIP”. As if. You think the way he kept hitting balls right at people in 2012 was THAT important? You think his high contact rate is more important than his CPU™? We need Hawk Harrelson’s Opinion (HHO™) before we can call Loney anything other than a one year wonder with good defence.

      • adimo82 - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        Sorry that numbers and acronyms hurt your brain.

      • cur68 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        Look, just never mind, ok? Join me in mocking Hawk Harrelson and its all good.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        Yeah, you maroon! LMAO

      • cur68 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

        I am not maroon. More darker shade of pale. In fact, I think I’m SUCH a dark shade of pale that you could say I’m right around in an 8D on this handy chart:

        http://loreal-dam-front-resources-corp-en-cdn.brainsonic.com/ressources/afile/1341-95ee3-picture_photo-color-chart-displaying-66-skin-tones.html

        With enough Florida Sunshine I hope to get to an 11F.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 11, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Pbbblt!

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 11, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        @admino82. Turn on your sarcasm font detector in your browser.

      • stex52 - Oct 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        You new around here, adimo?

    • clydeserra - Oct 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      just below Adrian Gonzalez? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • raysfan1 - Oct 11, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      Agreed, there are some players I’d like to see gone, I’ll be happy to see Loney back.

  4. Joe - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Eh, 2013 in the end wasn’t too far removed from his career norms. I’d give him $15/3 if I were the Rays. No idea what kind of contract anybody is thinking of, though.

  5. spudchukar - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    He just needed to get out of the National League.

  6. paperlions - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    No whammies, no whammieeeeeeeeees…………STOP!

  7. ptfu - Oct 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    For some reason, James Loney alternates decent years (2 WAR) with replacement-level years. The odd numbered years are the good ones (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013). So for next year he is definitely turning back into a pumpkin.

    Also, for what it’s worth, neither Fangraphs nor BB-Ref are terribly thrilled with his defense. Not awful, but not fantastic either.

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