James Loney’s Asking Price a Reminder of Russell Martin

Today we heard that James Loney is the top target for the Pirates at first base. In that article I posted an update from Jeff Passan that Loney was seeking three years and $27-30 M per year.

What a player is asking for and what a player eventually receives are two totally different things. As an example, last year Russell Martin was reported to be asking for a four-year deal at $9-10 M per year, which is where Loney started this year.

Martin signed two days after that tweet, getting two years and $8.5 M per year. I don’t know if that means Loney will eventually get what Martin received. What I do know is that if there was a team willing to give Loney $9-10 M per year, he probably would have already taken that deal. My guess is that Loney will sign for $7-8 M per year, and might be young enough to get a three-year deal.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Jared

    At $7-8M Loney would be fine.

    • leadoff

      That is what I think, but I also think the Pirates would not want to go further than 2 years.

      • Mr. Goodkat

        Why? We don’t have a single promising firstbase prospect who would be ready in 2 years.

        Even Bell, if you consider him an option, would likely be 3 years away. Same with Allie.

        • Jared

          If Bell has a breakout year this year you could see him jumping from Bradenton to Altoona…that would put him in a position to be in AAA to start 2015 and maybe move up if he did very well there as well.

          I tend to be more patient with prospects and want them to develop longer, though…so, yeah, 3 years is probably right for Bell…that is if he becomes the player we think he can be/is talented enough to be.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bob.martin.9003 Bob Martin

        Neal had said many times that they don’t like to give anybody 3 year deals, and his past history with FA shows he won’t.

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com/author/admin Tim Williams

          They tried to give Martin a three year deal, but he only wanted to sign for two last year.

  • Andrew

    This is a good point but 1st baseman, outside relievers, receive retrospectively the most dollar/WAR, catchers near the bottom. However, Loney lacks power the one talent that seems to be the most overpaid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

    I wish we could go back and give Martin 3 or 4 years. I am NOT sold on Tony S.

    • leadoff

      I am, Sanchez is a terrific framer ,blocker, hustler and he will hit for a decent average, can’t ask for more.

      • Jared

        Could I ask for more than 17% of runners being thrown out? Its like Ryan Doumit loaned Sanchez his throwing ability!

        • Andrew

          First you should ask if 1 or 6 is a sample of any worth?

    • moonunit

      Martin was probably the 2nd best defense catcher in the league last year, and that was a huge boost for us. But he also hit 226. He hasn’t hit over .250 in 5 years and he would have been getting open market money in contract years 3-4 when he’ll probably be much easier to re-sign, given the reality of his production in those years will be at backup level. Sanchez will be 27 and was a top 5 pick, so I don’t think you block the guy with a market value aging veteran who will likely struggle to hit 220.

  • piraterican21

    I guess my issue with Loney is how he fits on this team, example, where do you bat him? My best guess will be second behind Marte, a spot that will eventually be Polanco, other than second he will only fit low in the batting order, 6? Call me old fashion, but I like to see the team 1b be a 4th or 5th hitter. Bring on Lind or Butler

    • MaineBucs

      If Looney were added and was mostly used as a platoon player at 1st, I would see him batting either 5th or 6th. If current players on the roster and Looney make the opening day roster, I could see the following line-up against RH hitting pitchers.

      Marte – Lf
      Snider RF (with a strong dose of Tabata)
      McCutchen – CF
      Alvarez – 3rd
      Looney – 1st
      Walker – 2nd
      Martin – C
      Mercer – SS

      I also could see switching Looney and Walker. I would be hesitant to move Walker or Looney up to the 2 spot, because that means the bottom 3 of the order against RH pitchers could be really weak; Snider – 6th, Martin – 7th, and Mercer/Barmes – 8th. One potential other option would be to bat Tabata at lead-off, use either Walker or Looney in the 2 spot and the other one in the 5 spot, and then use Marte as the #6 hitter; a spot for which I believe he is well-suited. Marte has some power, sometimes strikes out a bit too much to be a good lead-off guy, but could also be a decent second lead-off guy out of the 6 spot (doubles power) with Martin and Mercer to follow and having a chance to drive him in.

      • Jared

        First, I very much hope that Snyder isn’t starting many games for the Pirates in the outfield…and I hope that Neil Walker would be batting 2nd against RH’ers and that the 1B could be counted on to bat 5th.

      • csnumber23

        This whole post makes me want to throw up. First you want Snider or Tabata in the 2 hole, ahhh no. 7 or 8 hole if even in the lineup. I am hoping Lambo or Decker plays the majority in RF until Polonco arrives. Then you suggest to move Marte to 6 so Jose scrub Tabata can bat lead off. I just vomited my dinner! No thanks!

        • https://www.facebook.com/marty.leap Marty

          Lambo over Tabby in RF? Ummmmm, not sure what baseball team you watched down the stretch last year, but Jose Tabata was the best played on the Pittsburgh Pirates not named Andrew McCutchen from August 1st until the end of the season. Andrew Lambo looked really over matched, albeit in a very small sample size, in his at bats. Lambo has also been AWFUL in winter ball this year, in a weak league. Plus, Lambo was decent at best before last year in the minors. I wish the Bucs would just DFA him so they’re not tempted to play him. He’d drag the lineup down with his .220 average, OBP under .300, and zero pop.

    • sammykhalifa

      “where do you bat him?”

      Easy. Leadoff.

      It’s Loney at the top.

    • Y2JGQ2

      I’m all for being old fashioned: So take that approach with the whole lineup- old fashioned isn’t having 5 players who strike out more than 25% of the time. Loney, being a contact hitter, becomes a great option right in front mcCutchen. Move Cutch to 4, Loney at 3. Alvarez at 5. Loney would be a waste down in the order because of his plate patience. You move Walker to 6 or 7 depending on where you want Mercer. I’d put Mercer 6 and Walker 7, Martin 8. SO….Marte, Tabata, Loney, Cutch, Alvarez, Mercer, Walker, Martin. Notice the R/L mix- it works VERY well

  • https://www.facebook.com/bruce.humbert Bruce Humbert

    I will go on record. Loney will be paid 8-9 million for three years – bat .260 next year with 17 home runs. I just do not get this fascination with a nice fielding first baseman who sort or rebounded in Tampa after a couple of down years.

    I’d rather go with Matt Haque than Loney – but my first choice would be Lambo-Sanchez platoon

    • Gallatin

      Loney hit Lefty’s almost as good as righty’s last year, 730 OPS vs. 800 OPS. He can be an every day player for us, or at least a versatile pinch hitter and defensive replacement when Sanchez plays.

      Loney is our guy – and the Bucks need to go get him. 2/14 plus an option at 7 with a 1mil buyout should do it in this market. He’s the biggest free agent I think Huntington will sign this year, assuming AJ retires, which it looks like he may as he has not been in touch with the front office.

      Love the D at 1st, and the bat is solid compared to our other options. Hopefully it gets done this week.

    • buster09

      Bruce Humbert : You aren’t serious…are you ?

  • Gallatin

    Lambo is making me, and I’am sure the Bucks too, nervous about counting on him for anything. He’s stinking up Winterball, the lower one in Venezuela. That’s not how you win a job on the Pirates. Would just as soon leave him in the outfield to compete against Tabata and Snyder at this point.

    • buster09

      You mean the Milwaukee Bucks ?

    • Andrew

      He is crushing left handed pitching 1.144 OPS, though.

      • Gallatin

        Lambo’s only extra basehit must have been against a lefty then. Dude is hitting .117 2 weeks into his season.

        • Andrew

          I realize he is not performing but it is 42 PAs.

          • Cato the Elder

            Hahaha…really puts that 1.144 OPS left handed platoon split in perspective.

  • https://www.facebook.com/marty.leap Marty

    I’d gladly do 3 years $24-25 million on Loney. Honestly, I’ll be a little surprised if he doesn’t end up here. I think he’ll be a Pirate before the Winter Meetings begin.

  • csnumber23

    I forgot this before but if Loney wants to much money. The target I would go for is Brandon Belt! Many want to trade Melancon. I think Melancon and a pitching prospect like Heredia would get it done.

    • Cato the Elder

      What in the world makes you think that would get it done!? I mean maybe it could, but: Are the Giants shopping a good (135 wRC+) 25 year old first baseman who won’t become a free agent until 2018 (i.e. ,he same year as McCutchen)? Are they really looking for a “set up” guy and a pitching prospect in return? Who would they be playing at first base after Belt left? Why would they be motivated to trade him for some bullpen help and a prospect who has yet to pitch in AA? Are they rebuilding? Why did they just pay Lincecum, Pence et al if they are rebuilding?

      If the Giants were to accept that trade you suggested, I would immediately worry that Heredia was about to become the next Jose Fernandez because clearly the Giants must know something we don’t.

  • https://www.facebook.com/marty.leap Marty

    If the Bucs sign Loney, this is my lineup vs RHP:
    Marte
    Tabata (until Polanco arrives)
    Cutch
    Pedro
    Loney
    Mercer
    Martin
    Walker

    Then against lefties replace Loney with Gaby, and put Gaby 4, Mercer 5, and Pedro 6.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.martin.9003 Bob Martin

    You can forget about James Loney now. First he says he wants 4/40 or 3/30. That still averages out to 10m per season. There are two problems here. First the Pirates really don’t like paying anybody that per year unless they’re splitting it with another team..Secondly, Neal has said on many occasions that they don’t give out 3 year deals to any FA. So unless James become extremely desperate and why would we want him then,he won’t be pulling a Pirate jersey over his head in 2014.

    • Gallatin

      Yo Bob – what makes you think Loney will get $10 million per? Nobody wants him at those numbers. Next week he will be glad to get $9 per, the week after that $8 per, and when he drops to $7 per the week after that, then the Bucks can move on him.

  • Jared

    Those interested in trading for Butler from KC might like to know that KC just traded with Brewers for Aoki and still plan to pursue Beltran…that would definitely make Butler expendable.