Chris O’Meara/Associated Press
Needing help at first base, the New York Mets have added James Loney from the San Diego Padres to bolster their roster.
ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin first reported the acquisition, adding that it was a trade between the Mets and Padres. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo confirmed Loney was going to New York. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the Padres will receive cash from the Mets in the deal.
Loney reacted on Twitter:
— James Loney (@theloney_s) May 28, 2016
The Mets needed to find someone capable of handling first base for at least the next month. Lucas Duda went on the disabled list earlier this week with a stress fracture in his lower back and is expected to miss four to six weeks, per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News.
Loney is a solid stopgap first baseman. He doesn’t possess Duda’s power, but he’s always hit for average and has a .338 career on-base percentage.
One of Loney’s biggest strengths throughout his career has been his defense, though he has regressed with the glove over the last two years.
The Tampa Bay Rays this season released Loney just before teams had to finalize their 25-man rosters. The Padres signed him to a minor league deal on April 8, and he hit .342/.373/.424 in 43 games at Triple-A.
At this point in the season, when it’s still too early for most teams to start trading valuable assets from their big league teams, the Mets likely didn’t have many high-quality options to choose from. Loney at least is a capable veteran on whom they can count every day.
Duda’s health will be a major storyline for the Mets as the season moves on, but Loney is the right guy for the team at this time.