The Tigers have signed veteran first baseman James Loney to a Minor League deal, per an announcement on their Twitter account. Loney will begin his time in extended spring training before going down to the minors.
The 32-year-old Loney, who was released by the Rangers in spring training will be playing for his sixth team in 12 seasons after spending time with the Dodgers, Red Sox, Rays and Mets. Last year, he hit .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs and 34 RBI in 366 plate appearance while playing 100 games for the Mets and helping fill their void at first due to Lucas Duda being hurt for most of the season. Loney’s prime years were with the Dodgers from 2006-12, when he batted .284/.341/.423, but he has not come close to that production since then.
Loney’s signing with Detroit is more of an insurance policy in case either All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera or designated hitter Victor Martinez get hurt at all. Loney is also the second first baseman the Tigers signed to a Minor League contract this year, joining Efren Navarro, who is in Triple-A Toledo after signing back in January following a split 2016 season in which he played in the minors for the Mariners and Cardinals organizations.