Tampa Bay Rays bring back James Loney on a three year deal

The American League East arms race continues.  The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a 3-year deal to bring back 1B James Loney.  According to ESPN Senior Baseball writer Buster Olney, the deal is worth $21M (via Twitter).

 

Loney is back in Tampa an solidifies a competitive lineup (Credit: AP/Mike Carlson)

Loney is back in Tampa an solidifies a competitive lineup
(Credit: AP/Mike Carlson)

At the age of 29, Loney seemed to be entering his prime and had a career year in 2013.  The Rays got a bargain in 2013, at only $2M on the free agent market.  One good season and it’s a 350% raise!  He batted .299 with 13 homers in a lineup in which he wasn’t expected to carry a heavy load.  Surrounded by franchise player and 2008 AL Rookie of the Year Evan Longoria, and 2013 AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers, Loney could be a key piece for a run in 2014.  And $7M doesn’t break the bank.  Loney came up with the Dodgers at the age of 21, so if it seems like he’s been around forever, he has.  He lacks the pure power you want from a franchise 1B, but has a keen eye and always hits for average (while limiting strikeouts).

The biggest questions surrounding the Rays is pitcher David Price, who costs in excess of $10M now, and will enter free agency in 2016.  The Rays may try to deal him to return some value before he walks away for only a compensation pick.

Every year baseball fans assume that the Rays aren’t going to be able to keep up with the AL East “Joneses” and every year they find a way to do it!  Now they just need some fans that will show up and watch!

- David Whitlock

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[05:21:31 م] Jason Whitney: