Rosenthal: Dodgers “most willing” to trade James Loney

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We’ve heard Matt Kemp bandied about in some trade talk, mostly of the silly Hot Stove variety, but major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that James Loney is the position player the Dodgers are “most willing” to trade.

Loney batted just .267/.329/.395 with 10 homers, 88 RBI and a 723 OPS this past season, poor production from a first baseman. The 26-year-old has topped 88 RBI in three consecutive seasons, but hasn’t had more than 13 homers or a 772 OPS since 2007. The 26-year-old agreed to a one-year, $3.1 million contract in his first go-around in arbitration this past January, so he’s in line to make even more this winter.

The free agent market is fairly deep as far as power hitting first basemen are concerned, so the Dodgers could make a trade to attempt to upgrade either at third base or in left field. One scenario Rosenthal paints is that the Dodgers could turn to a left field platoon featuring Jay Gibbons and Casey Blake. 37-year-old Blake in left field? Ouch. No thank you.

I suppose you could throw Loney in there as a non-tender candidate, but I believe he will be offered a contract, even if the Dodgers are unable to find a trade partner. It’s interesting that Rosenthal hears that Loney is the position player the Dodgers are “most willing” to trade when they also have Russell Martin under team control. Martin, who underwent hip surgery in August and has underperformed in each of the past two seasons, could make around $6 million in arbitration this winter.

Red Sox place Sandy León on waivers

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The Red Sox have placed catcher Sandy León on waivers, WEEI’s Evan Drellich reports. León hit .233 in 30 at-bats this spring, but he did draw seven walks.

León, 30, was quite productive in 2016, racking up an .845 OPS, but followed that up with back-to-back disappointing campaigns the last two seasons. He mustered a meager .511 OPS in 288 plate appearances last season. León, however, is under team control through the 2020 season and is well-regarded for his defense, so it seems probable that the Red Sox find a trade partner and send him to be a back-up elsewhere.

Christian Vázquez will handle the bulk of the catching duties this season with Blake Swihart backing him up now that León will be out of the picture. Swihart had been used more as a utilityman in recent seasons.