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Rays re-sign James Loney for three years, $21 million

Dec 13, 2013, 5:27 PM EDT

James Loney AP

Now that the first base market has shaken out a bit the Rays have re-signed James Loney to a three-year, $21 million contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of

Loney was hardly a sought-after free agent last offseason, signing a one-year, $2 million deal with Tampa Bay. He got off to a hot start for the Rays before coming back down to earth, finishing with a .299 batting average, 13 homers, and a .778 OPS in 158 games overall.

Toss in good defense and he was a very solid all-around player, but the amount of reported interested Loney has received is surprising. He hasn’t topped an .800 OPS since 2007 and has never hit more than 15 homers in a season. And now he gets a big payday at age 29.

  1. wannabenerd230 - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Considering that an aging and declining Morneau got 2 years/$13 million from the Rockies, getting a 1B in his prime for only a $500K AAV more is an absolute steal for the Rays. Well done again, Friedman. He may not be a power producer at the plate, but he gives good value at the position in a different manner. Remember that at $5 million/WAR, he only needs to be 2 WAR or more to be worth the contract he just got. Odds are he will be, even if it’s not with stats as good as last year’s.

    • zackd2 - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Lol what? He could sign a pile of crap and you guys would claim its a genius move. Just because Rockies gave out another bad contract doesn’t justify this contract.

      • wannabenerd230 - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        Besides one bad year in 2012, he’s been a 1-2 WAR player on average. This year he was worth 2.7 WAR according to FanGraphs, and in the best case scenario (maintenance of these numbers) this contract is a major steal. If he goes back to being a 1-2 WAR player, it was still a good market-value signing. Compared to the many unnecessary risks that other GMs have been making these past couple of months, the Rays made out really well. I don’t praise every move Friedman makes because it’s trendy to, but rather because they’re decisions are objectively VERY shrewd most of the time. Not all of them work out, but even his worst moves never have long-term implications attached to them.

  2. flpunx - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Considering we were used to seeing Carols Pena make $10 mil a year to bay 1.80 with 250 K’s, yeah, this is a huge move for the Rays, and as a fan, I LOVE IT!

    • flpunx - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      That’s supposed to say bat .180. Stupid excitement.

    • arsphd - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:30 PM

      I could not be happier! I predict he will be better than last year!

  3. karlkolchak - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Twenty-One is the Loney-ist number that the Rays will ever do.

  4. raysfan1 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    A good deal. I’m pleased. He’s also definitely better than the other remaining 1B options.

  5. flatsorter - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Since when is 7 million a year a “big payday” for an free agent everyday 1st baseman? Don’t toss in good defense, toss in great defense. This guy was a Gold Glove finalist last year. The runs he’ll save will more than make up for the extra runs Fielder will produce for 16 million less. He also has averaged 158 games per season over his career and you don’t have to ever have to hide him at DH.

    • hittfamily - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      His only other “big payday” as a free agent was for 2 million. A 1000% raise is always considered a big payday, no matter what the dollar value.

    • zackd2 - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      Can you hide his bat as designated fielder?

  6. hittfamily - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    1) Dejesus
    2) Zobrist
    3) Longo
    4) Myers
    5) Loney
    6) Joyce
    7) Jennings
    8) Hannigan
    9) Escobar


    That’s a heck of a ball club that Friedman has put together once again. The AL Beast is going to be a rumble once again!

    • hittfamily - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Yes, I am happy Hannigan joined the Rays, but not emoticon happy. Eight)

      • wannabenerd230 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        I’m happy that Hanigan is a Ray. I’m ecstatic that they signed him for 3 years, at only $2 million more TOTAL compensation than a declining Pierzynski is making with the Red Sox this year. That’s called superb management.

  7. dinofrank60 - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Good for Loney. This was a guy that hit .330 and 15 hrs in a half year, but whatever happened in LA, he’s far away from that influence.

  8. acdc84 - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Wow! Loney owes his agent a big fat Christmas gift for parlaying a random nice year into a relatively fat payday. $21M over three years could be considered a bargain for a starting 1B. However, halfway into the new season, when Loney will inevitably be on pace for a .255, 8 HR, 55 RBI campaign, the Tampa brass will experience no small amount of buyer’s remorse.

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