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Tampa Bay Rays Officially Release James Loney

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After three year with the Rays, James Loney is moving on

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

On Thursday we learned that the Rays had told James Loney that he would not be on their opening day roster.

They had until noon today to finalize their roster, and being unable to find a taker for Loney's large contract, the Rays felt they had to release him and eat the remaining $8M left on his contract.

The Rays had signed James Loney to a three year, $21 million deal following the 2013 season in which Loney broke out and provided the club with stellar defense and an exceptional bat, making them think he was well worth it as the signing is still the largest deal given to a free agent during the Sternberg era.

However, Loney's output decreased during the first year of the contract and then he fell off a cliff in 2015, while being one the highest paid players on the team. The significant decrease in his output in 2015 may be partly attributed to injuries, but the Rays clearly had moved as soon the off-season began when they acquired Logan Morrison, and then later when they made the Steve Pearce signing.

It is not unheard of for the Rays to cut ties with players, who are they are still contractually obligated to keep paying, with Pat Burrell, Jose Molina, and Grant Balfour each coming to mind.

Loney w Rays wOBA AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB% wRC+ fWAR Games
2013 .339 .299 .348 .430 13 12.9% 7.4% 117 2.6 158
2014 .318 .290 .336 .380 9 12.3% 6.3% 107 0.8 155
2015 .294 .280 .322 .357 4 8.8% 5.9% 88 -1.3 104