Minor League contracts don’t tend to get a lot of attention, however I think this signing is pretty interesting. The Tigers today, signed first baseman James Loney to a Minor League contract. Loney will head to extended spring training before being assigned to what is assumed Triple-A Toledo.
Loney was released by the Texas Rangers in March and had finished up a 3-year $21 million dollar contract last season by being released from Tampa in spring trainnig last season before picking up with the New York Mets for the season.
James hit .265 last season in 100 games with 16 doubles, a triple, 9 homers, 34 RBI, and a .703 OPS. For his career, Loney is a .284 hitter, with a .746 OPS, and has hit 108 homers, 267 doblues, and collected 669 RBI in 11 seasons. James rated out last season as an average defensive first baseman and does have postseason experience playing in 5 different playoff seasons.
Personally, I like the move as it lends depth to both first base and at DH and may allow Loney to play later in the season if/when Victor Martinez goes down and could allow Miguel Cabrera to shift to DH if this happens.