The Detroit Tigers sign James Loney

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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.

Guardians trade OF Will Benson to Reds for OF Justin Boyd

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Guardians traded outfielder Will Benson to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday for outfielder Justin Boyd.

The defending AL Central champions also will get a player to be named from the Reds in the swap.

Cincinnati drafted Boyd in the second round last year out of Oregon State. He led the Pac-12 with a .373 batting average and 24 steals in 2022. The 21-year-old batted .203 in 73 at-bats for Class-A Daytona.

The 6-foot-5 Benson spent 28 games with the Guardians last season, batting .182 with three RBIs in 28 games. The 24-year-old struggled at the plate, striking out 19 times in just 55 at-bats.

Benson was once considered one of Cleveland’s top outfield prospects, but has since been surpassed by Steven Kwan, Oscar Gonzalez and Will Brennan.