How Well Will James Loney Play in First Year With Tampa Bay Rays?
James Loney has had an adventurous MLB career which includes three different teams in the last 12 months. For six years, Loney was a project for the Los Angeles Dodgers as the first basemen who could make good contact but couldn’t quite have the home run total that the Dodgers were hoping for.
During his tenure with the Dodgers, Loney didn’t have more than 15 home runs in any of his 5.5 seasons. Now, the Dodgers have Adrian Gonzalez who more fits the bill of what they were looking for from that position with more than 20 home runs in six consecutive seasons prior to 2012.
Loney is now replacing a home run hitter in Tampa Bay as the Rays moved on from Carlos Pena after just one season in 2012. Notorious for the long ball and a less than stellar average, Pena knocked 19 home runs with a .197 batting average over 160 games at first base. Loney will look to replace that production after signing a one year deal worth $2M in 2013.
As long as the batting average is held above .285, Loney can definitely suffice as the everyday first basemen for the Rays, but once he starts dipping into the .244 range that he at concluded 2012 at, trouble will arise. Now, with Evan Longoria entering 2013 healthy once again, the Rays offense can make a play at the divisional title if the right people do step up.
Currently slotted for the #7 spot in the lineup, Loney will have the make the most of his opportunities before being moved up.