Buster Olney reports that James Loney is on the verge of a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.
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
The deal would be a multi-year deal, according to Loney. It appears that the Pirates will have to turn to the trade market with Loney off the table. It will be interesting to see what he ended up signing for.
The top two trade options are Ike Davis and Mitch Moreland, although other options could be available like Justin Smoak and Adam Lind. Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are the two remaining teams looking for a first baseman.
UPDATE 5:29 PM: Ken Rosenthal says that Loney got 3 years, $21 M.
Source: Loney to #Rays, three years, $21M, pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2013
He had been asking for three years and $27-30 M. I figured the price would come down to $7-7.5 M per year. I wasn’t sure if the Rays would be able to pay that. Even if the Pirates could match it, I’d imagine Loney would want to stay in Tampa.