The Detroit Tigers have signed first baseman James Loney to a minor league deal. He’ll report to extended spring training to get in shape.
Loney was in the Rangers camp this spring but played poorly and was cut. Last year he played for the Mets. Before that he spent a few years with the Rays. He has not posted an OPS+ of 100 or more — which is league average for all positions — since 2014. He has not had a good offensive season for a first baseman since at least 2013, and even then that’s debatable. He has defensive value, which has been what has kept him in the league despite his weak bat for a first baseman, but hasn’t had a positive WAR since that 2013 season.
Why are the Tigers signing him? Organizational depth is the likely answer. While Miguel Cabrera isn’t going anyplace, he has started the season slowly, he sustained an injury in the World Baseball Classic and, according to those who have watched him, isn’t using his legs as much in his swing in the first week of the season. Miggy has had leg issues in the past that have harmed his swing, so maybe the Tigers are a bit concerned?
Hard to say. But James Loney has a job once again.
The Rockies announced a minor swap of relief pitchers on Monday evening. The Cubs sent lefty Zac Rosscup to the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Matt Carasiti.
Rosscup, 29, was designated for assignment by the Cubs last Thursday. He spent only two-thirds of an inning in the majors this year and has a 5.32 career ERA across 47 1/3 innings. Rosscup has spent most of the season with Triple-A Iowa, posting a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.
Carasiti, 25, spent 15 2/3 innings in the majors last year, putting up an ugly 9.19 ERA. With Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 43/13 K/BB ratio in 30 1/3 innings.
The Associated Press reported that on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court ruling which holds that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law, just like the major leagues.
In 2015, four minor leaguers sued Major League Baseball, alleging that MLB violated antitrust laws with its hiring and employment policies. They accused MLB of “restrain[ing] horizontal competition between and among” franchises and “artificially and illegally depressing” the salaries of minor league players.
The U.S. Court of Appeals said the players failed to state an antitrust claim, as the Curt Flood Act of 1998 exempted Minor League Baseball explicitly from antitrust laws.
This case is separate from the Aaron Senne case in which Major League Baseball is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. That case was recertified as a class action lawsuit in March. In December, Major League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC), which came months after two members of Congress sought to change language in the FLSA so that minor league players could continue to be paid substandard wages.