James Loney Retires

Veteran first baseman James Loney, who’d launched a comeback bid when he signed with the Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, announced his retirement from baseball Friday.

It’s been three years since Loney, now 35, appeared in a big league game. His last Major League work came in 2016 when he batted .265/.307/.397 through 366 plate appearances with the Mets. Loney had a brief stint with the Korea Baseball Organization’s LG Twins, did not play in 2018 and appeared in just 11 games with the Skeeters this season before today’s announcement.

Although it’s been a bit since Loney was prominent in Major League Baseball, he’s still a well-known name to most fans thanks to a solid 11-year run at the MLB level. Selected by the Dodgers with the 19th overall pick in the 2002 draft, Loney debuted as a 21-year-old less than four years later and quickly solidified himself as a viable long-term piece in Los Angeles. He hit .284/.342/.559 in 111 plate appearances during that rookie effort and followed it up with a brilliant .331/.381/.538 showing in 375 plate appearances during the 2007 season.

That cemented Loney’s place in the L.A. lineup, and while his bat never matched that lofty standard again, he was a solid offensive presence for the Dodgers over the next four years, consistently hitting for average with quality on-base skills and one of the game’s lowest strikeout rates. In parts of seven seasons with his original organization, Loney hit .284/.341/.423 all while providing the Dodgers with above-average defense at first base.

Loney struggled in a brief run with the Red Sox after being included in 2012’s epic Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett blockbuster and settled for a one-year deal with the Rays in hopes of rebuilding his stock. He did just that. Loney turned in a .299/.348/.430 performance with his characteristically strong glovework in his first season with Tampa Bay, and he parlayed that success into a three-year, $21MM deal to remain with the Rays. He’d give Tampa Bay a second season of above-average output before struggling in year two of that pact and eventually being released prior to the final season of the deal. It was at that point that Loney latched on for what now proved to be his final season — the aforementioned Mets run.

All told, Loney logged 1443 games in the Majors and hit .284/.336/.410 with 108 home runs, 267 doubles, 21 triples, 38 stolen bases, 528 runs scored and another 669 knocked in. Beyond that, Loney was a monster in the postseason, hitting .350/.429/.525 through 91 plate appearances across parts of eight different series (mostly with the Dodgers). Between his first-round bonus and his 11 seasons in the Majors, Loney racked up more than $38MM in career earnings.

from MLB Trade Rumors http://bit.ly/2VtGdyK

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