Earlier this week Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote that “James Loney is the position player the Dodgers are most willing to trade,” yet today Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times wrote that “Loney, despite rumors the team is looking to trade him, is all but certain to return at first base.”
Two good reporters with what are no doubt very connected sources … and two very different reports about the same player.
I have no idea which report is right–although technically they could both be accurate–but I do know that the Dodgers should be shopping Loney. He earned $3.1 million this season and is line for a guaranteed raise via arbitration despite hitting just .267 with a .329 on-base percentage, .395 slugging percentage, and 10 homers in 161 games.
There’s been a lot of talk about the Dodgers needing to improve their offense by bringing in some big bats and that’s certainly true, but the fact that their first baseman hasn’t cracked an .800 OPS in three seasons doesn’t help either. Loney is a solid enough all-around player, but his offensive production is below average at first base and he’s about to get expensive. He’s exactly the type of player the Dodgers should be fielding calls on.
This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.
For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.