On Thursday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the San Diego Padres and first baseman James Loney have agreed to a minor league deal. Buster Olney of ESPN, has confirmed the deal as well.
After spending the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, the ten year veteran was released on Opening Day after he failed to make the 25-man roster. The Rays attempted to trade Loney, but were unable to find any suitors. The struggling first baseman was in the final year of a three-year, $21 million deal for which he’s still owed $8 million from Tampa Bay.
The Rays were dissatisfied with Loney’s lack of production and during the off-season, Tampa Bay brought in a pair of first baseman, Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce. The acquisition of both Morrison and Pearce, essentially made Loney the odd man out.
Morrison, 28, has been in the league since 2010, and spent his first four years with the Miami Marlins , after which he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2013 for pitcher Carter Capps.
After spending two years with the Mariners, Seattle decided to trade not only Morrison, but Brad Miller and Danny Farquhar to the Rays as well. The Rays in return, sent the Mariners Nathan Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser and Boog Powell.
In seven seasons, Morrison has played in a total of 612 games, batting .242 for his career, along with 70 home runs and 254 RBI’s.
Pearce, 32, has been in the league for ten years, playing for a total of five teams (Pirates, Orioles, Rays, Yankees and Astros). The veteran Pearce, has only played in 487 games during his ten year career, and has a career batting average of .247 with 53 home runs and only 180 RBI’s.
The Padres however, are in need of help at first base, with Wil Myers, who’s a more natural outfielder, has been San Diego’s primary first baseman. The signing of Loney will allow Myers to return to the outfield where he can back up Matt Kemp, Jon Jay and even Melvin Upton Jr., as Buster Olney has pointed out.
The Padres are looking to inject some offense with the acquisition of Loney after the Padres failed to score a single run in their opening three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers who outscored San Diego 25-0.
Loney’s best years came when he was a member of the Dodgers for over seven seasons, hitting .284 with 71 home runs and 451 RBI’s.
For Loney’s career, he has a .285 batting average, with 99 home runs and 635 RBI’s.