James Loney will sign with the Rays for thee years and $21 million according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Buster Olney of ESPN.
James Loney is on the verge of an agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays; a multi-year deal.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2013
Source: Loney to #Rays, three years, $21M, pending physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2013
He was rumored to be seeking a three-year deal with an average annual value of around $10 million, but appears to have come down off his price a bit, and the deal is done, pending a physical.
The 29 year old Loney put up the most valuable season of his career in 2013, with 2.7 fWAR. His predictably solid plate discipline, low strikeout rate, and outstanding first base defense were buoyed by a .326 BABIP (career rate: .308) and his best isolated power since 2008 (.131 in 2013 compared to a career .136). Both the Steamer and the Oliver projection systems peg Loney for league-average offense in 2014.
The price tag of $7 million per year will make him the third highest-paid player on the Rays, behind David Price and Evan Longoria, and tied with Ben Zobrist. Barring a potential David Price trade, the Rays roster is now basically complete, with a total salary of $78 million.
Also, of potential note. Loney and Olney are clearly the same person. Has anyone ever seen them in the same room at the same time?