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James Loney retires

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James Loney has announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 35. Loney had been playing for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

Loney’s best full season probably came in 2011 when he hit .288/.339/.416 with 12 homers for the Dodgers. In his first two years in the bigs — partial seasons in 2006 and 2007 — he broke out with a line of .321/.372/.543 with 19 homers and 85 RBI in 144 games.  He would never match that initial promise, but he was a fixture at first base for L.A. for the following four seasons.

Loney’s last big league action came in 2016, when he hit .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs and 34 RBI in 366 plate appearances for the Mets. For his career he hit .284/.336/.410 with 108 homers over 11 seasons for the Dodgers, Red Sox, Rays and Mets.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.