After low expectations coming into the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have exploded out of the gate thanks to some surprising performances.
One player who has failed to elevate his game is first baseman James Loney.
Loney hasn’t taken the next step and what once looked like a promising career appears to be unraveling. He has fallen out of favor, and is sharing time at first with veteran Juan Rivera. Loney has been putting it together of late, but still holds a .263 average with just two home runs, 21 RBI and a .689 OPS. Rivera hasn’t set the world on fire himself, as the two have combined with some help from Scott Van Slyke sink the Dodgers to dead last in wins above replacement from their first basemen.
Rivera has five starts at first over the team’s past 13 games, which is perhaps a sign of things to come for Loney. The 28-year-old has over 3,200 major league appearances under his belt, so it seems highly unlike Loney will become the player the Dodgers once envisioned.
Maybe it’s time for a change of scenery.
Among the first basemen who could be available come the trade deadline include Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox, Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins and Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs. Of course, there will be more names popping up on the rumor mill in the coming weeks.
The Dodgers seem destined to make a big addition at the deadline. At 42-25, the team has the best record in baseball despite playing much of the year without superstar Matt Kemp.
The new ownership group paid $2.15 billion to buy the team, so you know they’ve got deep pockets. The only question is whether they’ve got any money left over to add a few key pieces to try and make their first season as owners a memorable one.