Wednesday, August 29, 2012

James Loney is the Forgotten Man

In the blockbuster trade that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers - of yeah Nick Punto too - and three very good prospect to Boston, the forgotten man in all of this is the Dodgers' First Baseman (and now Red Sox First Baseman) James Loney.  When I announced this trade to the boys when it first broke, the common answer I received was "Who's James Loney?"

That's a good question.  He's been in Matt Kemp's shadow for the last 3 years in Los Angeles, so his profile has been low ever since coming into the league in 2006.  The trade now gives him a chance to hit in the middle of the batting order of a high profile team.  Even though said team is putrid and out of the Playoff hunt.  This begs the question though.  What is James Loney going to do when the season ends?

It was not that long ago that Loney had back-to-back 90 RBI seasons despite hitting behind RBI machines in Los Angeles, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.  Hell, even his 162 career averages are pretty good (.284/.341/.763), so this guy is not just a throw away in this deal.  And while he is arbitration eligible after the season, the question again is whether Loney should be kept around after the 2012 season concludes. 

The Free Agent Pool for the 2013 season is iffy at best.  There are no First Basemen free agents for the 2013 season, so the Red Sox might be better off keeping Loney around for another couple of seasons.  I wonder if the Red Sox are regretting moving both Josh Reddick and Lars Anderson in 2012.  I guess we are all set next year when the Red Sox play in the National League next year at First Base without any controversy as Papi will be able to play all of the games.  Oh wait, David Ortiz is moving on after this season too, I forgot.

It's a good question.  Loney is hitting modestly so far in Boston.  Maybe the Green Monster is suited to his swing.  Maybe the change of scenery works both ways and Loney will flourish in Boston.  I do know that Mauro Gomez is not the answer and neither are any of the "prospects" in Portland.  Loney might be it.  Has John Henry finally succeeded in turning the Red Sox into the Florida Marlins he used to own?

Welcome to the Boston Red Sox 2.0.  So how's Liverpool doing?

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