The well-traveled veteran hit .174 in 46 spring training at bats with Rangers.
James Loney went from being a bargain pick-up to a need in 2016 for the New York Mets. Now the first baseman is back on the market after he was released by the Texas Rangers on Monday. Loney, who was a non-roster invitee, hit .174 with two extra base hits in 46 at-bats.
It’s highly unlikely there will be any reunion this time around with the Mets. Lucas Duda leads the team in doubles this spring with five. The Mets also have better defensive options than what Loney would represent. Plus, there’s still the Jay Bruce option that was explored in spring so even if Duda lands on the disabled list, the Mets have more fallback options.
Loney hit .290 in his first 60 games with the Mets last season and looked like quite a steal in his first couple of months. The batting average leveled off to .265 by the end of the year. Loney also clubbed nine homers and 34 RBI in 100 regular season games after Duda missed an extended period of time with a back injury.
The 11-year veteran will turn 33 on May 7 and has bounced around the league several times lately. After he was released before the final year of his three-year contract with Tampa Bay last year, Loney went to San Diego on a minor league deal. He was traded to the Mets in late May where he played out the rest of the season. Loney has appeared in a Major League game for four teams and has been with two other teams on a minor league contract.
He got his career off to a great start in Los Angeles, hitting 15 homers and driving in 90 runs in each of his first two full seasons. The numbers have steadily declined since that point for the former first round pick (19th overall) back in 2002.
Loney also committed eight errors, which was tied for sixth most among all first basemen last year. His .989 fielding percentage was third fewest of those with at least 500 chances at first. He’ll have a tough time getting back to the majors unless the perfect situation presents itself like it did in New York with injuries and lack of positional depth at the time.