Loney owns a career line of .282/.339/.419 with a wOBA of .329, and is considered a well-above average defensive first baseman. Although Loney is known as a fairly consistent player, he had an awful season this year with the Dodgers/Red Sox where he hit just .249/.293/.336 in 465 plate appearances, hitting a total of just six homers and 41 RBI.
The 28-year-old will replace Carlos Pena, who had himself an atrocious year as well batting just .197/.330/.354 with a HR total of under 20 and a WAR under 1. After the very little production the Rays got out of the first base position this year, the Rays can expect a bit of an offensive boost in 2013.
A good player comparison for Loney is Casey Kotchman, who was Tampa’s first baseman for the 2011 season. Like Loney, Kotchman is a defensively-oriented player who hits for contact rather than power. If he can have the kind of season Kotchman had in Tampa Bay two years ago, the Rays are going to have a far more productive offense next year.
Also worth noting is that he may very possibly be used a platoon against right-handed pitching. Loney has hit for an average .46 points better vs RHP (.294) than LHP and an OBP .49 points better (.351) during his seven-year career.
After earning more than $6 million this season, I think it’s safe to say the Rays pulled off somewhat of a bargain with this acquisition.
Rays News and Notes:
- Overnight the Rays were the subject of a trade rumor involving the Washington Nationals sending INF Danny Espinosa and 1B/OF Michael Morse to Tampa in exchange for starting pitching (James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson being the two main candidates at the moment). However, the discussions have apparently died off for the moment.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times talks Rays roster situations and talks of re-signing Kyle Farnsworth in his latest feature on the MLB Winter Meetings.