With spring training finally nearing its end, rosters are being finalized, which inevitably leads to players being sent down to the minor leagues, traded, or simply released; and while James Loney's fate is still somewhat up in the air, we know he won't be playing for the Rays in 2016.
#Rays have told Loney he will not be on team— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 30, 2016
Loney said #Rays told him he would either be traded or released— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 30, 2016
Loney was a productive player for the Rays in 2013, but over the last two seasons he's been worth -0.5 fWAR. In 2015 he mustered a slash line of just .280/.322/.357 with a wOBA of .294 and a wRC+ of 88. With Steve Pearce and Logan Morrison at first, and Pearce, Morrison, and Corey Dickerson at DH, there simply wasn't room for Loney on the roster.
Tampa will undoubtedly try to trade him, as he's owed nearly 10 million in 2016, which would be a lot for the Rays to absorb. It's unclear how likely that may be however, as they've been trying to move Loney all spring. If he is released and a team can sign him for the major league minimum, he shouldn't have much trouble finding a new home.
The Yankees could use a back-up for Mark Teixeira, as Greg Bird is set to miss the majority, if not all of the 2016 season. The White Sox might be another possible destination for Loney, as they could use some depth after Adam LaRoche abruptly retired.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.