James Loney re-signed with the Tampa Bay Rays last month, after drawing interest from several teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates. Loney ended up signing a three year, $21 M deal to remain in Tampa. According to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (h/t Bucs Dugout), Loney turned down similar offers from the Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, and Houston Astros.
#Rays Loney said MIL, PIT, HOU, TB made similiar offers. "I felt this was going to be the best option and this is where I wanted to be."
— Roger Mooney (@RogerMooney50) January 3, 2014
My guess at the time Loney signed was that if the Pirates were offering the same amount, Loney would probably opt to remain in Tampa. He would play everyday in Tampa, as opposed to being a platoon player in Pittsburgh. The Pirates now have an advantage of being a contender, but the Rays have the same advantage and have had that for longer. Plus, if all else is equal, I’d imagine he’d want to stay in a place where he put up the best season of his career.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make…..Loney is a very good fielding 1B and had a nice year last year, but his career numbers suggest that was likely a fluke. If it would have cost them $21 million to get him, that would have been an overpay IMHO.
Thinking about it.
Baseball players live such a nomadic life.
Tampa provides: spring training in Florida,
regular season (at least 1/2 time in Florida),
off season training… Florida. Less moving=
lower cost of living.
Would provide a more stable living condition,
but the addition of no income tax also would
be a factor. Income and other taxes is
Pittsburgh would require the Pirates to
offer more for the same contract the Rays
The only minus to Tampa Bay is the lack of fan support, i.e. playing in a half stadium even when you’re winning. Although until this last half year Pittsburgh didn’t have more than a quarter full stadium except for good promotion nights.
Guess we should be getting some reports this week….
Jameson Taillon @JTaillon19 3h
Excited to head to Bradenton tomorrow for the Mini Camp!
Speaking of platoon 1st basemen, has anyone heard anymore rumors about Mike Carp? He’s already a platoon player and does well in that role. It helps his stats to not have to bat against lefties. He seems to be better than most options the Pirates have had. He’s up for arbitration so they are probably waiting to see what it will cost to have him.
I agree 100%. Of all the options out there, Carp seems like the best fit! I hope Neal is trying to get something done with the Rsox!
I really doubt Loney would have come to Pittsburgh (or any of the other destinations) over TBay for less than 1.5M more per year. That was natures way of saving us from complaining what a mediocrity Loney is for the next three seasons.
Born, I agree completely with both points.
I’m sure that chronically phenomenal weather and NO STATE INCOME TAX probably played a small part in Loney staying put as well. Similar offers are not always similar. Why do you think LeBron James chose Florida to build his evil base.
Come to think of it, maybe if he came to the Bucs he’d always be labeled a platoon player. I would’ve overpaid for this guy a little but again it’s not my money. Unless one of these Lambo, Decker, etc. options turns out to be the next Garret Jones for a couple years it’s really slim pickins at first. Stay tuned I suppose.
and man. just thinking. if someone told me i could work 30% less (be a platooner) and get paid just as much, i’d say sign me up. but i guess i don’t have a baseball card of statistics to maintain…
IMO, the Pirates don’t worry too much about PR unless it is really bad, IMO, in their minds winning cures all ills. They know that no matter what they do, someone is going to be pissed, the press will spin a move their way, the fans will spin it their way. The Pirates have a policy of never divulging any transactions that they are working on until they are completed. Not getting a player is a non complete transaction.
to jaygray007- i’m with ya
I wonder why (if they don’t) the Pirates front office doesn’t go out of their way to explain to the fanbase that they went after Player X hard, but in the end they chose another team. I guess either they don’t feel as though they don’t need to explain themselves with regards to every single player that signs elsewhere or I just don’t hear about it here in Philly. Regardless I give Neal and the boys the benefit of the doubt 90% of the time because they know more than me but more importantly what they’ve done in the last 5 years. I would imagine if AJ doesn’t wind up in Pittsburgh this year they’ll bend over backwards to explain their efforts because fans are going to be pissed whether it’s warranted or not.
“I wonder why (if they don’t) the Pirates front office doesn’t go out of their way to explain to the fanbase that they went after Player X hard, but in the end they chose another team. ”
No offense, but that is such an absurdly bad idea that I don’t know where to begin.
I can think of 3 huge reasons off of the top of my head why this doesn’t happen:
1. Why would the Pirates (or any team, for that matter) want to telegraph to the every other team, player and agent how much money they’ve offered to someone (even if it’s after the fact) and who they’ve gone after? There’s a reason that negotiations for contracts take place behind closed doors. You’re trying to outmaneuver 29 other clubs, why would you ever hand out information to those teams about the guys you’ve gone after?
2. What good is going to come from continually broadcasting failures to sign a contract with a fan base? “Yeah, we went hard after Player A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I this year. All of them signed somewhere else.” Fan reaction: “The Pirates FO stinks, they can’t close a deal!” I’m not so sure how admitting a failure to sign someone would bolster fan’s confidence in an organization (more likely it would have he opposite effect.)
3. Also, you certainly don’t want to be showing up players for making the contract choices that they make. “Yeah, we offered more money to Loney, but he didn’t sign.” Makes you look like a real jerky organization.
4. I imagine that the Pirates talk to the agent of every single free agent. Where would the Pirates start drawing the line as to what is considered “going hard” after someone?
not a lot of teams will really speak openly about stuff like that.
I think sports teams take that kind of stuff way too seriously. i wish teams would just say “hey don’t be mad at us. he just liked Team X better.” but it’s just how stuff’s always been. any of the stuff you hear about “team Y barely missed out on player Z” is always from one of the national “insiders” like olney, heyman, etc. or a newspaper guy like the guy from this Loney story. it rarely, if ever, comes from straight from the team.
and i guess we’ll see about the AJ situation that you posed.