Loney’s Trade Value

James Loney is the position player the Dodgers are most willing to move according to Ken Rosenthal. The hostile (and snarky) response here is, “Duh.” The more tactful response includes noting that Loney is not the kind of player that a team should overpay for his production. That statement is banal as it can apply to just about any player, but Loney’s production is more easily replaceable than most, which is exactly why his trade value is likely minimal.

Loney’s best offensive tool is his ability to make contact. He does not walk a ton and certainly lacks the slugging ability that is de rigueur of the position. Just as quickly as folks are willing to embrace the stereotypical hulking first baseman, they too will embrace the defensive wizard who carries a twig to the plate – Loney is neither. None of UZR, DRS, or the Fans Scouting Report suggests that Loney’s defense borders on elite – or even well above average.

At age 23, Loney played in 96 games and hit .331/.381/.538 with 15 home runs in 375 plate appearances. Expectations rose and have undoubtedly bloomed bitterness with the results since. Loney’s wRC+ has dropped in each season since (from 140 in 2007 to 105, then 104, and most recently 98). His home run totals have remained consistent (15, 13, 13, and then 10) as have his runs batted in totals (67, 90, 90, and 88) which likely raises his perceived value among the casual observers. Here is this graph with the sole purpose of terminating those warm fuzzy feelings about Loney’s offense:

The aforementioned consistency in scoreboard statistics will likely translate into a raise in arbitration. Loney made $3.1 million last season and this is his second season with arbitration eligibility. That leaves age as the only conceivable advantage Loney holds over the various free agent options. Lyle Overbay, Adam LaRoche, Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Aubrey Huff, Derrek Lee, Lance Berkman, and quasi-first basemen like Nick Johnson, Lance Berkman, Troy Glaus, and Russell Branyan are on the open market. There are only so many seats available and any team willing to wait out the market will likely find themselves a bargain deal.

Even if the Dodgers want to sign a masher and keep Loney around as defensive sub they can cut costs and improve efficiency by paying someone like Casey Kotchman to come off the bench and bat lefty instead of Loney. That is why it makes perfect sense for the Dodgers to attempt to replace Loney, but also perfect sense for other teams to avoid Loney.



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deadpool
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deadpool

I do think your overlooking Loney’s lone other skill, which is health. I could see a team that’s banking on production from an unproven player (like the Mets for instance) or a player with injury history at first to find value in Loney in that he’d be guaranteed to turn in league average production while a starter is either adjusting or injured.

kbertling353
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kbertling353

Either way, he’s still not worth what he’ll receive in arb.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers

Ike Davis is already more proven than Loney, and younger and cheaper. You musta forgotten that we now have an FO team of Riccairdi, Depodesta, and Alderson

Big Jgke
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Big Jgke

Because Ricciardi has never made a mistake in free agency. Ever.

John
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John

I laugh at the fact that Ricciardi is with the Mets. I figured this guy couldn’t get a job at a high school, much less a professional team. Good luck getting rid of K-Rod and Beltran. If Ricciardi has his say, he will just hold on to them until their value (you might ask what value at the cost) is gone.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers

Because Ricciardi is running the show, and Loney is an FA? Educate yourself on the wells contract, it was Rogers’ not j.p. Also look at the insane amount of pitching depth the jays have thanks to ricciardi. He messed up on Ryan, and was stuck in the AL east, and he isn’t even our GM. You two don’t seem to know that alderson is the GM.
And John really? Beltran won’t bring anything of value back neither will Krod. Sandy will ensure krod’s option doesn’t vest, and both their contracts run out. So that’s how we get rid of them, although I’d bring back voltron at the right price.

Big Jgke
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Big Jgke

Dude, that is like defending Isiah Thomas’ record as a GM by pointing out that he was decent at the draft. Actually its exactly the same.

I feel like there’s a Judge Judy quote about what you’re trying to do to me here.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers

This is hilarious. I know Riccairdi isn’t amazing but him, Depodesta and Alderson is akin to defending Isiah? I will explain this simply in J.P.’s defense

Romero 2010 = 4 fWAR
Cecil 2010 = 2.5 fWAR
Marcum 2010 = 3.5 fWAR
Marcum was from the 03 draft and I don’t feel like checking if he was part of JP’s first draft but i am pretty sure he was. Either way, JP left the Jays with 10 WAR in SP last year all coming from the draft, which is incredible value. If Omar had left Sandy with that threesome, the Mets would be in much better shape going forward when compared to Pelf, Niese, an injured Johan, and Dickey. The jays have as much starting depth as anybody with the exception of maybe TB and OAK, Ricciardi wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but you are twisting what I said which was basically that: Ike Davis is better younger and cheaper than Loney and that we no longer have a guy who trades for GMJ, signs Krod to a ridiculous contract when relievers not named Rivera aren’t worth much at all unless you ARE the yanks and are guaranteed in the playoffs every year. He also won’t depend on F-cat, Barajas, Jacobs, or Cora as bench bats, 1B and freaking clean-up hitters. You realize we got a 276 OBP out of 1100+ PA’s from some shrewd omar signings last year right? Cat, Jacobs, Cora, GMJ, Barajas, Frenchy. Counting a pitcher thats almost 3/9 of the lineup with sub 300 OBP. Those days are gone, OMAR IS GONE. This team won’t make much noise this year, but with castillo, ollie, krod, and beltran coming off the books next year, and with one of the strongest FO’s in baseball and some good pieces still on the team… let’s just say i am looking forward to post 2011 baseball.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers

Oh and JP did draft Marcum, it was the same draft as Aaron Hill who was his first draft pick. Hill has also quietly put up almost 13 war in 5 seasons one of which was lost to injury, yet another solid pick from JP. Kill him for the Ryan and even Burnett contract’s, but the Wells’ one was not on him, and the Rios contract will actually turn out to be a decent one.

Big Jgke
Member
Big Jgke

Troy Tulowitzki. That’s who JP passed on in order to give the highest bonus in franchise history to Romero. Because he had drafted Russ Adams and was satisfied that the SS position was taken care of.

No one is disputing that Ricciardi had some talent mining underrated pitchers from the draft. But nobody would argue that Isiah Thomas had the same ability (making the most of the draft). Unfortunately they also shared two other key traits: self-promotion and aggrandizement of an absurd degree, and an incredible ability to slither out of danger when confronted with their failings.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers

Different argument altogether though. I could care less if he slithered out of danger, because the dunn comments were stupid, as was passing up Tulo, as was every team for 12 rounds with pujols. He is a good person to have on staff, whereas I wouldn’t want isiah anywhere near a negotiating table. JP although not as good as depo or sandy IMO is and has been far more successful than isiah. I do see your comparison, but in terms of being decent at their job or not, JP can claim that where isiah does it and we all laugh.

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