It’s time for Dodgers to release James Loney

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Haven’t we all seen enough by now?

All James Loney really had going for him the past couple of years was decent RBI totals.  He truly was a clutch player, in that he hit like a perfectly solid first baseman with RISP and then napped through his at-bats with no one on.

This year, though, Loney has hit like a bad shortstop no matter the situation.  He’s batting .251/.294/.325 with five homers.  Despite batting fifth and sixth all season, he’s driven in a piddly 35 runs in 378 at-bats.

So, the Dodgers should just give up on him now.  There’s no way he can rebound enough over the final 47 games of the season to justify another raise in arbitration this winter.  Despite his modest production — this will be his fourth straight season with an OPS under .800 and fewer than 15 homers — he’s making $4.875 million.  Players in arbitration don’t take paycuts, so the Dodgers would have to spend at least that much to bring him back next year, making him a virtual shoo-in to get non-tendered.  Why not start the process early and spend these next 47 games instead looking at whether Jerry Sands can step in at first base next year?

Sands, who also plays left field, struggled to a .200/.294/.328 line in 25 at-bats for the Dodgers earlier this season, but that just gave him the same OPS that Loney has posted in three times as much action.  Back in Triple-A, Sands has hit 21 homers in 268 at-bats.  He’s taken full advantage of the high-offense environment at Albuquerque — he has a 1.096 OPS at home and a .640 OPS on the road — so there is reason to be skeptical.  But that’s why the smart play would be to give him a long look now before deciding whether to sign a first baseman over the winter.

It’s not as though there’s anything left to lose.

World Series Game 1 lineups

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The World Series kicks off Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston between the Dodgers and Red Sox. The Dodgers are aiming to take home their first championship since 1988 while the Red Sox haven’t won it all since 2013, a long and arduous five years. Here are the Game 1 lineups along with each player’s postseason stats.

Dodgers

2B Brian Dozier (R)
3B Justin Turner (R)
1B David Freese (R)
SS Manny Machado (R)
LF Chris Taylor (R)
DH Matt Kemp (R)
CF Enrique Hernández (R)
RF Yasiel Puig (R)
C Austin Barnes (R)

SP Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

Red Sox

RF Mookie Betts (R)
LF Andrew Benintendi (L)
1B Steve Pearce (R)
DH J.D. Martinez (R)
SS Xander Bogaerts (R)
3B Rafael Devers (L)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
C Sandy León (S)
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (L)

SP Chris Sale (LHP)

No surprises here. Both teams loaded their lineups with right-handed hitters against the lefty starters. There won’t be any trickery, either, like what Brewers manager Craig Counsell tried to pull in the NLCS against the Dodgers, starting lefty Wade Miley and pulling him after one batter in favor of right-hander Brandon Woodruff. Both teams expect their respective starters to go deep into Game 1.