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Pirates Rumors: Bucs targeting James Loney

After missing out on Justin Morneau, the Pirates search for a first baseman has led them to James Loney.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates are focusing their search for a new first baseman towards former-Ray James Loney after checking in on Mitch Moreland of the Rangers and Adam Lind of the Blue Jays, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.

The 2013 Pirates made their way to their first playoff series since 1992 despite getting a .243/.324/.402 batting line from their first basemen. Pittsburgh tried Gaby Sanchez and Garrett Jones at the position with little success for most of the season and finally turned to the trade market and acquired Justin Morneau from the Twins for the final month of the season. The team originally hoped to bring Morneau back, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, but he recently signed with the Rockies.

In the wake of that deal, Pittsburgh appears to have landed on James Loney as the new solution at first. Loney had the second best season of his career at the plate in 2013, hitting .299/.348/.430 with Tampa Bay. The 29-year-old is a career .285/.340/.421 hitter and regarded as a strong defender at first by both experts and advanced metrics. He is two-years younger than Morneau and coming off of a better season, so his price tag is expected to top the two-year/$13 million deal that Colorado gave Morneau.