The Pittsburgh Pirates are determined to land a first baseman at some point during the 2013 Winter Meetings and James Loney just might be the man for the job.
The Pirates have reportedly shown heavy interest in Loney and negotiations between the two parties appear to be on a roll. Obviously, if Pittsburgh can sign him for a decent deal then the Pirates would instantly upgrade their roster for the 2014 season.
The 29-year-old batted .299 with 13 home runs, 75 RBI, 33 doubles and three stolen bases in 549 at-bats with the Tampa Bay Rays last season.
He clearly doesn’t bring the power that is typically associated with first baseman. With that being said, he brings other elements to the game. For instance, he posted a .348 on-base percentage this year, which goes along comfortably with his career .340 on-base percentage. Considering that is a big part of Pittsburgh’s game, Loney would be a welcomed sight in the lineup.
The seven-year player also is an outstanding defensive first baseman. Even though the Pirates would prefer someone to be more of a threat on offense at the position, it certainly doesn’t hurt that he will be a solid asset on defense.
It will be interesting to see if the negotiations end well as Loney could sign with Pittsburgh as early as today. At the same time, it appears the Pirates will keep their options open, as first base will be a key position for them next season. On the other hand, I’m not sure if the organization will be able to do better than Loney.