Sep 29, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays first baseman James Loney (21) forces out Miami Marlins second basemanDee Gordon
(9) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates
It doesn’t seem like they would be a fit on the surface with Mike Morse still under contract in Pittsburgh, but they’ve been linked to Loney in the past and could still view him as an upgrade defensively. Now that Josh Harrison is slated to play 2B every day, it makes Morse a better candidate to be used as a 4th outfielder and 1B option than simply as a 1B.
The issue both of these teams face yearly is the budget. Therefore, if this were to be more than a 1 for 1 deal, there’s a chance that the deal could grow to include a starter, something the Pirates need badly at this point without paying what SP are demanding on the open market.
If the Rays were to include someone like Drew Smyly or Erasmo Ramirez in the deal with Loney, they could potential acquire a piece that they can bank on to help out in 2016 or 2017. In particular in Pittsburgh’s case, someone like Austin Meadows who may not have a clear path to the majors seems like a possible fit.
The Rays recently lost some of their OF depth in the rule 5 draft and are seeking for a long-term answer in LF. Meadows could be that answer and would make for a nice return. Still, it’s likely the Rays would have to cover approximately half of Loney’s deal at a minimum to make a deal happen.
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