James Loney has resigned with the Tampa Bay Rays for three years, $21 million dollars and the team now knows they are set at first base. General Manager Andrew Friedman feels that signing Loney was a big plus because of his left handed bat, his stellar defense and perhaps his most important role as a calming force in the club house. In short he clicks off a number of boxes in the Rays wish list at first base.
The Rays beat out the Pirates and Brewers we for Loney. Kendrys Morales is the best first baseman left on the free agent market, but he might be more DH than first baseman at this point. Plus he’ll cost a draft pick to sign. Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, Kevin Youkilis and Mark Reynolds are the best of the rest.
It was clear that Rays manager Joe Maddon wanted Loney back and now he knows he will be with the club for next three years. Tampa Bay has more work to be done. Tampa Bay will focus on looking to trade for a closer, pick up an extra bat and deepen the bench.
Much of that could be accomplished through a trade for David Price and just because nothing happened at the Winter Meetings in Orlando there are at least five teams still very interested in making a deal.