ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSNewYork/AP) — James Loney, who provided the Mets with a solid presence at first base in Lucas Duda’s lengthy absence last season, has a new team.
The free agent has agreed to a minor contract with the Texas Rangers, a person familiar with the deal said Monday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
After being acquired from the Padres for cash considerations in May, Loney hit .265 in 100 games with the Mets. With Duda, who missed four months with a stress fracture in his back last year, healthy again, the Mets did not show much interest in re-signing Loney.
In Texas, Loney will join several others vying for time at first base after Mitch Moreland agreed to a deal with Boston and Prince Fielder was forced to retire because of a neck injury.
If the left-handed Loney makes the major league roster out of spring training, the Rangers will be his fourth big-league team since 2012 after the 32-year-old spent his first seven-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A first-round pick by the Dodgers in 2002, Loney is a career .284 hitter with 108 home runs and 669 RBIs in 1,443 games.
Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo, Ryan Rua and five-time All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton are the other current first base candidates for Texas. The list could be longer next month when the Rangers report to spring training in Surprise, Arizona.
Hamilton, trying to come back from three surgeries on his left knee since last playing in 2015, is on a minor league deal as well.
Loney had career highs in average (.331) and home runs (15) in 96 games with the Dodgers in 2007. Five years later, he was part of the nine-player trade with Boston that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers.
After signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent, Loney hit .299 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs in 2013. Loney was released by the Rays before the start of last season. He began last season playing for the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate in El Paso.
(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)