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.