James Loney

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James Loney
James Loney 2013.jpg
Loney with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013
Free agent
First baseman
Born: (1984-05-07) May 7, 1984 (age 33)
Houston, Texas
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
April 4, 2006, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
(through 2016 season)
Batting average .284
Hits 1,425
Home runs 108
Runs batted in 669
KBO statistics
Batting average .278
Home runs 3
Runs batted in 12
Hits 22
Teams

James Anthony Loney (born May 7, 1984) is an American professional baseball first baseman who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Mets, and in Korea Baseball Organization's (KBO) KBO League for the LG Twins.

Early career[edit]

James Anthony Loney was born on May 7, 1984 in Houston, Texas, to Marion, known as Tony, and Annie Loney. His father was a computer programmer and software consultant and his mother worked as a teacher. Loney has a younger brother named Anthony.[1][2][3]

Loney played baseball on a team sponsored by the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program and was coached at Elkins High School by Matt Carpenter's father Rick.[4] In Loney's senior year, his high school team was ranked first in the nation by Baseball America and won the 5A state championship.[5] Loney contributed a 12–1 record with a 1.52 ERA and 120 strikeouts as a pitcher that season, as well as a .500 batting average, eight home runs, 38 runs scored and 58 runs batted in.[6] He was named to the Texas Sports Writers Association 5A all-state team at the end of the 2002 baseball season, as well as Powerade and Gatorade Player of the Year.[6][7][8]

Much of the professional interest in Loney centered on his pitching ability,[1][2] but he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round, #19 overall, of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft as a position player.[9] He had signed with Baylor University to play college baseball, but opted to sign a pro contract.[10]

Professional career[edit]

Minor leagues[edit]

Loney began his professional career in 2002 with the Great Falls Dodgers, where he hit .371 and was named the top prospect in the Pioneer League by Baseball America. Loney also appeared in 17 games that year for Single-A Vero Beach, batting .299.[11] He returned to Vero Beach for 2003, and in 125 games he hit .276 with 7 homers and 46 RBIs.[11] He was listed #34 on the 2003 edition of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list.[12]

Loney during 2007 spring training in Florida.

In 2004, Loney was highly ranked for his defensive ability in the Arizona Fall League[13] and made the All-Prospect Team voted on by league managers and coaches. However, he had an injury plagued season at Double-A Jacksonville and fell to #42 on Baseball America's prospect list.[12][14] In 2005, Loney led the Southern League Champion Jacksonville Suns in hits and total bases. That season, he was ranked #62 on Baseball America's list of top prospects.[12]

In 2006, Loney led all of baseball, major and minor leagues, with a .380 average while playing for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. He was named the Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year, and was chosen as first-team Triple-A All-Star First Baseman by Baseball America.

In the spring of 2016 he played briefly for the triple A, El Paso Chihuahuas for several months until the San Diego Padres traded him to the New York Mets . Loney immediately began playing MLB ball, first base for the Mets.

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

Loney made his major league debut with the Dodgers on April 4, 2006, against the Atlanta Braves. He received his opportunity when starting Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra was placed on the disabled list, freeing up a roster spot for Loney. Loney collected a single in his first major league at bat, against John Smoltz.[15]

On September 28, in a game against the Colorado Rockies, Loney went 4 for 5 with 9 runs batted in, which tied a 56-year Dodgers franchise record for RBI in a single game, held by Gil Hodges. Loney accomplished this feat in only his 46th game with the team while still under 100 total at bats in his major league career.[16][17] Because of his success in 2006 with both Los Angeles and Triple-A Las Vegas, he was named to the Dodgers' playoff roster. Filling in for an injured Garciaparra in game three against the New York Mets in the National League Division Series, Loney went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.[18][19]

Despite Loney's stellar 2006 season, the Dodgers chose to re-sign Garciaparra for 2007–08, meaning Loney had to start the season back at Triple-A Las Vegas. On June 10, 2007, Loney was recalled to the Dodgers.[20] His hot hitting forced the Dodgers to insert him into the starting lineup and move Garciaparra from first base to third base.

Loney hit nine home runs in September 2007, setting a Dodgers record for home runs by a rookie in a calendar month that he shares with Joc Pederson (May 2015).[21] Loney was named the National League Rookie of the Month for September[22] and finished sixth in the voting for the 2007 NL Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award.[23][24]

Loney in the on-deck circle at Dodger Stadium, 2011.

Loney was a unanimous selection to the 2007 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team. The selection was the result of the 49th annual Topps balloting of major league managers.[25]

Loney began the season as the starting first baseman and had a 15-game hitting streak.[26] He finished the season batting .289 with 13 HR and 90 RBIs. Loney led the team in runs batted in consistently for the entire year. On October 1, 2008, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, Loney hit a grand slam off of Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster as the Dodgers went on to win the game 7–2.[27][28]

Loney turned in numbers in 2009 similar to his 2008 numbers, hitting .281 with 13 home runs in 158 games as the team's starting first baseman. On January 19, 2010, Loney agreed to a new 1-year contract that substantially increased his salary from $465,000 to $3,100,000.[29] In 160 games in 2010, he hit 10 home runs and 88 RBI, while batting .268, his poorest stats since he joined the team.

On September 16, 2011 Loney hit a three-run pinch hit home run in his only plate appearance and the following day hit another three-run homer.[30] He set a career high with five hits on September 18, helping the Dodgers win three straight games against the Pittsburgh Pirates.[31] Loney finished the season by hitting .288 with 12 home runs, though his RBI total of 65 was the lowest since his rookie season.

Loney with the Rays in 2014.

In 2012, Loney continued his downward career slide, hitting .254 with only 4 homers and 33 RBI in 114 games with the Dodgers. Around mid-season he started platooning at first base with Juan Rivera.[32]

Boston Red Sox[edit]

On August 25, 2012, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox (along with Iván DeJesús, Jr., Allen Webster, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa) for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto and $11 million in cash.[33] He played in 30 games with the Red Sox and hit .240

Tampa Bay Rays[edit]

On December 6, 2012, Loney finalized a one-year $2 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.[34] On July 23, 2013, Loney collected his 1,000th career hit in a game versus his former team, the Boston Red Sox.[35][36] The contract wound up being a good deal for Loney and the Rays, as he hit .299 with 13 home runs and 75 RBIs, his best numbers since his rookie season in 2007. On December 13, 2013, Loney and the Rays agreed to a three-year contract worth $21 million.[37] His numbers dipped a bit in 2014, as he hit .290 with 9 home runs and 69 RBIs, but he had 600 at-bats in a season for the first time in his career.

Loney with the Mets in 2016

Loney was limited to 104 games in 2015 because of injuries. He only slashed .280/.322/.357 for his lowest OPS since 2012, in addition to a drop in defensive value to a −5.4 UZR/150 at first base. On March 30, 2016, Loney was informed that he would not be listed on the Rays Opening Day roster.[38][39] On April 3, the Rays released Loney, eating the entirety of the $8 million owed to him for the 2016 season.[40]

San Diego Padres[edit]

On April 7, 2016, Loney signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres.[41] He played for the Pacific Coast triple A Team, the El Paso Chihuahuas.

New York Mets[edit]

On May 28, 2016, Loney was traded to the New York Mets for cash considerations.[42][43]

Texas Rangers[edit]

On January 24, 2017, Loney signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers that included an invitation to spring training.[44] The Rangers released Loney on March 27, 2017.[45]

Detroit Tigers[edit]

On April 12, 2017, Loney signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers.[46] He was released by Detroit on May 7, 2017,[47] after batting .229 in 16 games with the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit's AAA affiliate.[11]

Atlanta Braves[edit]

The Braves signed Loney to a minor league deal on May 18, 2017.[48] Loney was released on May 22, 2017 following the Braves acquisition of first-baseman Matt Adams from the St. Louis Cardinals [49]

LG Twins[edit]

Loney signed with the LG Twins of the KBO League for a $350,000 contract on July 18, 2017. After playing in 23 games, the Twins demoted Loney to the minor league. He opted to leave South Korea and return to the United States rather than report.[50]

Personal life[edit]

He married his wife, Nadia, an Iranian American, in 2013 and they have two sons.[51] They live in San Diego, California in the off season.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gurnick, Ken (June 13, 2008). "Dad built backyard cage for Loney". MLB.com. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Hernandez, Dylan (July 25, 2007). "Loney's home run sparks family fun". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  3. ^ Drellich, Evan (May 4, 2010). "Dodgers' Loney hosts charity bowling event". MLB.com. Archived from the original on May 4, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ McTaggert, Brian (May 21, 2014). "Houston a befitting backdrop for Civil Rights Game". MLB.com. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ Brockman, Andrea (June 18, 2002). "Elkins Knights bag state, national title". ASP Westward. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Baseball first team at a glance". Houston Chronicle. June 16, 2002. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Area players named to TSWA all-state teams". Amarillo Globe-News. July 10, 2002. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  8. ^ "James Loney". WWSB. August 22, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  9. ^ Klein, Gary (June 5, 2002). "Dodgers Start Restoration With Loney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ DiGiovanna, Mike (June 6, 2002). "Brown Still Stuck in Hospital Bed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c "James Loney Minor, Fall & Winter Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved May 8, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c "All-Time Top 100 Prospects". Baseball America. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  13. ^ Boyd, Josh (November 18, 2003). "Arizona Fall League Top 20 Prospects". Baseball America. Retrieved June 5, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Arizona Fall League Notebook: James Loney". Baseball America. 2004. Retrieved June 5, 2016. 
  15. ^ Henson, Steve (April 5, 2006). "For Loney, It's Night to Remember". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Loney (9 RBI) ties team record as Dodgers blast Rockies". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 29, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Loney ties Dodgers mark with 9 RBI". Seattle Times. September 29, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  18. ^ "New York Mets finish off sweep of Los Angeles Dodgers". Lubbock Avalanche Journal. Associated Press. October 8, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  19. ^ Shaikin, Bill; Peltz, Jim (October 12, 2008). "For Garciaparra, a starting date". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  20. ^ Addcox, Jayson (June 10, 2007). "Notes: Clark exits as Loney gets call". MLB.com. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  21. ^ Graham, Pat (June 2, 2015). "De La Rosa leads Rockies over Dodgers in doubleheader opener". Associated Press. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Press Release". mlb.com. Retrieved October 1, 2007. 
  23. ^ Hoch, Bryan (October 15, 2007). "Sporting News honors A-Rod". MLB.com. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Braun edges Tulowitzki by two votes; Pedroia wins in landslide" (ESPN.com). Associated Press. November 13, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Topps announces the 49th annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team". MLB.com. November 26, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Rafael Furcal goes 4-for-4 with HR as Dodgers beat Pirates". USA Today. Associated Press. April 17, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  27. ^ Hernandez, Dylan (October 2, 2008). "Thud follows a slam". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  28. ^ Kepner, Tyler (October 1, 2008). "Cubs Are Quickly Against the Wall". New York Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  29. ^ "No arbitration hearings for Dodgers in 2010". MLB.com. January 19, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  30. ^ Dilbeck, Steve (September 17, 2011). "James Loney, home-run machine, powers Dodgers past Pirates, 6–1". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  31. ^ Peltz, Jim (September 18, 2011). "Dodgers' bats come alive in 15–1 win over Pittsburgh". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  32. ^ Dilbeck, Steve (June 30, 2012). "Hey, Dodgers, look who's heating up – it's James Loney (again)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  33. ^ Axisa, Mike (August 25, 2012). "Red Sox, Dodgers Complete Nine-Player Blockbuster". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Rays, James Loney complete deal". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 6, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Jon Lester beats Rays to keep Red Sox in first place". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 23, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  36. ^ Loney's 1,000th career hit. MLB.com. July 23, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  37. ^ Topkin, Marc (December 6, 2012). "Deal to sign Loney now official". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  38. ^ Topkin, Marc (March 30, 2016). "Rays release Rivera, tell Loney he won't make team". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  39. ^ Chastain, Bill (March 30, 2016). "Rays release catcher Rivera; Loney next?". MLB.com. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  40. ^ Chastain, Bill (April 3, 2016). "Rays release first baseman Loney". MLB.com. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  41. ^ Topkin, Marc (April 8, 2016). "Former Rays 1B James Loney joins Padres". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  42. ^ DiComo, Anthony (May 28, 2016). "Mets acquire Loney from Padres". MLB.com. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  43. ^ Rubin, Adam (May 28, 2016). "James Loney traded to Mets, likely to be activated after weekend". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  44. ^ Sullivan, T.R. (January 24, 2017). "Rangers give Loney Minors deal, spring invite". MLB.com. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  45. ^ Wilmoth, Charlie (March 27, 2017). "Rangers Release James Loney". mlbtraderumors.com. 
  46. ^ Paul, Tony (April 12, 2017). "Tigers sign 1B James Loney to minor-league deal". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  47. ^ Polishuk, Mark (May 7, 2017). "Tigers Release James Loney". mllbtraderumors.com. Retrieved May 8, 2017. 
  48. ^ http://m.mlb.com/news/article/231056756/braves-sign-first-baseman-james-loney/
  49. ^ https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/braves-release-james-loney.html?fv-home=true&post-id=92870
  50. ^ "Ex-MLB player James Loney leaves S. Korea after demotion". Yonhap News. August 29, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017. 
  51. ^ Astleford, Andrew. "Rays' James Loney welcomes son, placed on paternity list". Fox Sports. Retrieved July 2, 2014. 

External links[edit]