The Tampa Bay Rays have re-signed first baseman James Loney to a three-year, $21 million contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. ESPN.com's Buster Olney first reported that a deal was close between the two sides.
Loney, 29, hit .299 with 13 HR and 75 RBI in 158 games with Tampa Bay in 2013, in what proved to be the best statistical season of his career. He was also terrific defensively, prompting Rays manager Joe Maddon to repeatedly comment that that he should have won the Gold Glove award at first base.
The Rays have been looking to fill their void at the position since Loney hit free agency, and looked at Justin Morneau, Logan Morrison and Mat Gamel as potential replacements. Loney drew interest from the Pirates, Brewers, Blue Jays and Astros this winter, with Pittsburgh looking like a serious contender to sign him throughout the Winter Meetings. He was said to be seeking a three-year, $27 million deal, so it is possible that he gave the Rays a hometown discount.
For his career, Loney is a lifetime .285 hitter with 86 HR and 534 RBI in eight seasons with the Dodgers (2006-2012), Red Sox (2012), and Rays (2013). After his excellent 2013 season, Loney will receive a significant raise in average annual value from the $3 million he got last year.