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Rays, James Loney close to deal

The winter meetings have begun and the first signing is ... James Loney?! Indeed, the first baseman is close to signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jared Wickerham

The winter meetings have begun and the Tampa Bay Rays will be kicking things off as the team is close to a deal with free agent first baseman James Loney, as first reported by Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

The Rays appear to be close to signing James Loney. Good fit there.

Tampa Bay figures to be busy at the winter meetings since the team needs to find starting players at a handful of positions for the upcoming season. Loney would potentially be the team's answer at first base, given Carlos Pena is now a free agent, eliminating one thing off of Tampa Bay's things to do list.

Loney spent 2012 with the Los Angeles Dodgers before being shipped off to the Boston Red Sox in the mega-trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to Los Angeles.

At 28 years of age, Loney figures to never turn into the player pundits expected after his first few seasons, batting just .249/.293/.336 in 465 plate appearances last season.