James Loney To Rays Further Thins First Base Market

With Corey Hart and Logan Morrison heading to the Mariners and James Loney agreeing to return to the Rays this week, the Pirates and Brewers remain on the hunt for a first baseman, as MLB.com's Anthony DiComo notes (via Twitter). The Astros could be on the lookout for a first baseman as well. With Mike Napoli (Red Sox) and Justin Morneau (Rockies) also gone, there isn't much left on the free-agent market, which means teams still hoping to acquire a first baseman will probably also consider trades. Here's a look at the main options still available.

  • Matt Adams, Cardinals. Adams is far better than most of the players listed below, but the Cardinals would only be likely to move him in a major deal. It would be very hard for the Pirates or Brewers to pry him away, since they're both NL Central teams, and the Astros likely don't have the big-league talent the Cardinals would need in order to decide to part with him. His .284/.335/.503 line in 2013 would be a valuable addition to any big-league lineup, however.
  • Kendrys Morales, free agent. Morales might be the highest-profile name remaining as a free agent, but after a season in which he hit .277/.336/.449 while playing poor defense (in the 31 games in which he played first base), he declined the Mariners' qualifying offer. It's hard to see many teams, including the Pirates and Brewers, give up a draft pick for the right to sign a defensively-limited player on the wrong side of 30. It appears likely that Morales will end up back with an AL team, as CBS Sports' Mike Axisa recently noted.
  • Ike Davis, Mets. The Mets seem determined to trade either Davis or Lucas Duda. Davis may be the more attractive of the two candidates, due to his power, although he'll also be more expensive than Duda in arbitration this year. The Mets also seem more inclined to trade Davis. With Loney off the market, there's now a clear path for the Mets to deal Davis to either the Brewers or Pirates. There may be a feeling around baseball that they waited too long, however, with Mike Puma of the New York Post recently tweeting that a source recently told him the Mets were going to "sell low" on Davis. The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough, meanwhile, tweeted, "The Mets' slow, steady march toward trading Ike Davis for something like a right-handed relief prospect is such a drag." In any case, it's hard to see the Mets getting much for Davis, or any team getting particularly excited about installing him at first, after he hit .205/.326/.334 in 2013, even though he batted .286/.449/.505 after the All-Star break. Davis appears set to make about $3.5MM through arbitration in 2014.
  • Justin Smoak, Mariners. With Hart and Morrison both heading to Seattle, Smoak is now available, with the Mariners likely favoring a big-league contributor, rather than a prospect, in return. It remains to be seen how much other teams might want Smoak, however — the former top prospect has hovered around replacement level for his career, and at 27, it may be that his once-highly-regarded bat won't ever carry him. Smoak hit .238/.334/.412 in 2013.
  • Mitch Moreland, Rangers. Moreland's name has appeared in trade rumors since Texas traded for Prince Fielder, but he currently still has a role in Texas at DH. That could change somewhat, however, if the Rangers sign Shin-Soo Choo or re-sign Nelson Cruz, but right now, there appears to be no pressing reason for the Rangers to trade Moreland unless they want to. Moreland hit .232/.299/.437 in 2013, but unlike any of the trade candidates mentioned above, he does play plus defense at first base.
  • Adam Lind, Blue Jays. Lind, who batted .288/.357/.497 in 2013, is a well-above-average hitter, but he's not much of a defender at any position. Also, like Moreland, he has a clear role on his current team as a DH. The Pirates recently asked the Jays about Lind, only to have the Jays ask for Neil Walker in return. If the Blue Jays do trade Lind, he probably won't come cheap.
  • Mike Carp, Red Sox. WEEI's Rob Bradford recently tweeted that Carp was receiving plenty of attention on the trade market, which is no surprise — unlike Davis and Smoak, Carp hit well in 2013, and unlike Moreland and Lind, he has no clear starting role with his current team. Carp played mostly first base and outfield in 2013, but with Jackie Bradley Jr. expected to replace Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, and with Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes expected to play in the corner spots, he won't necessarily be needed in the outfield next year. There isn't much room elsewhere, either, with Mike Napoli and David Ortiz returning at first base and DH, respectively. If Carp hits .296/.362/.523 again, the Red Sox can surely find space for him, but if another team approaches them with a nice offer, they could easily deal him, too.
  • Eric Chavez, free agent. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman recently reported that the Pirates were one of several teams to check in on Chavez, and upon inspection, it's easy to see why. The veteran hit .281/.332/.478 in Arizona in 2013, and while he has limited experience at first base and isn't the defensive star he once was at third, it's easy to imagine he would be at least average defensively if he were to move across the diamond. He might also be relatively cheap, since he was a part-time player in 2013. He's an injury risk, but with Pittsburgh, in particular, he wouldn't have to play every day, since Gaby Sanchez would start against lefties.
  • Kevin Youkilis, free agent. Youkilis missed most of the 2013 season due to injury and wasn't good when he played, but he was a valuable asset as recently as 2011. He'll be 35 in March, however, and showed signs of decline in 2012, so it's fair to wonder how much he has left. He also prefers to play on the West Coast, so he may not want to sign with Milwaukee or Pittsburgh.

71 Responses to James Loney To Rays Further Thins First Base Market Leave a Reply

  1. Benjamin Orr 2 years ago

    Um, Mark Reynolds?

    • Charlie Wilmoth 2 years ago

      I’m not sure anyone would want him as a starter at this point, although I guess you can make the argument that if Youkilis is here, Reynolds could be as well.

  2. Jaysfan724 2 years ago

    Gotta wonder if the Pirates are more inclined to give up Walker for Lind the more that 1st basemen come off the market.

    • SumatranRatMonkey 2 years ago

      Why would they do that? Who else do they have to play second base?

      • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

        Isn’t Chase d’Arnaud ready?

        • SumatranRatMonkey 2 years ago

          I doubt that very much. Just looking over his minor league career it’s apparent he’s not very talented.

        • Eddie Edwards 2 years ago


          • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

            How about instead of being salty over questions that are simply inquiry, you give a sensible answer instead of down voting and saying no. The guy is 26 so clearly if he’s not ready now, he won’t ever be.

          • Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

            No. Trading Neil Walker for Adam Lind and making Chase d’Arnaud your 2B is not sensible. Just no.

          • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

            My bad…if we signed back Robinson Diaz, would the Pirates be more willing to make the trade for Walker then?

          • Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

            Only if Jose Bautista is involved

          • Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

            No. Trading Neil Walker for Adam Lind and making Chase d’Arnaud your starting 2B is nlt sensible. Just no.

    • Eddie Edwards 2 years ago


    • OldHaus 2 years ago

      This might be the Jays way of saying we aren’t trading Lind. I don’t know how serious of an offer this is.

      • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

        Not sure exactly what you are saying with this? The Jays would do Lind for Walker…clearly an upgrade over Ryan Goins or Maicer Izturis.

        • OldHaus 2 years ago

          There are two sides here. The Jays might think it’s a great deal, but it doesn’t work for the Pirates. They would need a replacement for Walker and they can get more for Walker than a DH in a DHless league.

          This might just be the Jays spitballing seeing what will stick. In other words, it’s not serious.

          • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

            I understand the Pirates side, I thought you were saying that the Jays wouldn’t do it.

          • OldHaus 2 years ago

            If Huntington says yes to Walker, AA hurries up and files the papers before Neal wises up. Walker might just be the opening asking price. Can’t blame AA for aiming high, unless of course he gets under the skin of his fellow GM.

          • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

            That was all my initial question was about though. Wasn’t aware of how thin 2B was for the Buccos, which is I was curious if they were really desperate for 1B help would Huntington be more willing to give the Jays what they wanted. The Jays don’t need to trade Lind, but if they were able to flip him for one of their needs (2B, SP) they would.

            And it’s basically what AA does, he’s in on anyone…like you said, throwing a spitball and seeing what sticks. If Pirates were interested, that’s great, if someone else wants Lind, that’s great, if not, they’ll just keep him.

          • James F 2 years ago

            Encarnacion for Gaby Sanchez? Jays wouldn’t do it but the Pirates sure would.

          • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

            Pirates had no problem giving us Jose Bautista doe…..

          • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

            Gotcha…that’s kind of what AA does. He’s in on anyone. Seems like a matter of if they want Lind, great, if not, we have no problem keeping him. Jays seem inclined to roll with Goins/Izturis, but if they can upgrade they will.

    • TL 2 years ago

      I doubt it. This is still a buyers market, given that there are only really a few teams that need a 1B and there are several options. Losing our starting 2B for one half of a first place platoon wouldn’t make much sense from the Pirate’s perspective.

  3. Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

    What a disappointing offseason for the Pirates. If I had to choose one I’d say go after Smoak. Maybe some kind of package deal for Smoak and Ackley?

    • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

      So you just reply no to my Neil Walker comment, but now you want Ackley? Where would he play unless you put him in right putting both Tabata and Snider to a bench role.

    • mateodh 2 years ago

      Smoak/Sanchez would be a good platoon, I think, with Smoak’s .839 OPS vs RHP and Sanchez’ .987 vs LHP.

    • TL 2 years ago

      I’m still holding out hope they go after Carp. He fits their needs better than any other remaining option.

  4. durf81 2 years ago

    Viciedo is on sale…

  5. Jeffy25 2 years ago

    Matt Adams has the chance to be available for the right package

    • Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

      I don’t think the Cards would trade him in the division though

    • GrilledCheese39 2 years ago

      Not for the teams in the same division (Pirates and Brewers.)

    • Charlie Wilmoth 2 years ago

      Good point, although I can’t see him going to the Pirates, Brewers or Astros. I’ll add a paragraph about him, though.

    • Charlie Wilmoth 2 years ago

      Good point, although I don’t think he’ll be accessible to any of the teams that seem to be actively looking for a first baseman. I added a paragraph about him anyway, though. Thanks.

  6. GrilledCheese39 2 years ago

    Kendrys fits perfect for the Bucs, disappointing he isn’t the best fielder. But, if they can handle Garrett Jones at 1B, why can’t they handle Morales? I know the draft pick, but they have a low pick, so it’s the best time to sign someone like that. Also, his contract will be significantly lower because of the draft pick, so it actually is kind of a good thing. Fits perfect as a switch hitter behind Pedro. They could go with internal options for RF or trade for a 1 year stop gap for Polanco. Their starting pitching is in a bit of a flux right now. Liriano/Cole/Morton are locks and Wandy and Volquez (sigh) are the incumbents. They could go for a big splash and trade for Price (unlikely) and/or resign Burnett. They have good options for the bullpen, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few upgrades to the pen/bench

  7. Mil8Ball 2 years ago

    I feel bad for the Mets if they trade Davis as it will be selling very low. I still hope the Brewers can acquire him in hope he is closer to his second half numbers…but if they still want Thornburg or even Hellweg no thanks. It isn’t worth the gamble.

    • Sage 2 years ago

      I agree about that not being worth it. The question is, does Doug think that? He clearly did earlier in the week when he apparently turned down Thornburg for Davis, but now… we really don’t have many other choices. Unless there’s a surprise player available that we don’t know about, we’re close to having a season of Juan Francisco/Sean Halton at 1B.

    • gbakedgbaked 2 years ago

      Nobody thought the mets would get wheeler from sf.
      Nobody thought dickey was worth Olt, let alone what they got.
      Nobody thought they would get anything for Byrd.

      All that, and I think you guys are selling Davis a little short. Let’s see how this plays out.

      • Sage 2 years ago

        It’s not that we’re selling Davis short. Believe me, all things considered, I want Davis on this team. What we’re doing is acknowledging that the Brewers are not exactly an organization in a position to be shipping out young, controllable pitching. We need all of that we can get.

      • Mil8Ball 2 years ago

        This is a very inaccurate example. Those teams gave up what they did because they were in win now mode, the Brewers are not.

  8. Michael Kenny Jr. 2 years ago

    Adam Dunn. Just kidding! But seriously, somebody please take him.

  9. jagst5_PA 2 years ago

    No way the Cards trade Adams. He’s too valuable and they have had no plans to trade him. GM Mo has said that first base is his in 2014 with Craig moving to right field.

    • stl_cards16 2 years ago

      Haven’t seen that but I do believe it is likely at the beginning of 2014. However, Taveras is going to push himself into RF at some point next season and Adams will be back to the same role as last season.

      • Brandon Burgess 2 years ago

        I agree that Taveras forces Cards hand. I like Adams but Taveras is a generational talent.

        • Lanidrac 2 years ago

          That doesn’t mean you just trade away extra depth for no reason. Adams is valuable even on the bench, and we have no holes left to fill. It’s a good problem to have just like in the starting rotation. Are you suggesting we trade Lynn or Kelly just because they’re competing for rotation spots with highly touted prospects Miller, Wacha, and Martinez?

      • leowalter 2 years ago

        Taveras won’t be physically up to making it to the Cardinals this year.

    • Brandon Burgess 2 years ago

      Adams was rumored to be dangled for a SS. Granted we have one now. Either way…not in the same division

  10. Daniel 2 years ago

    Padres have Alonso at 1st, son K. Blanks and F. Guzman can be had via trade… Both still have some upside and young, cheap and controllable……

  11. HolaAmigas 2 years ago

    Really sad what happened to Morales. Wonder what could have been if he had never hit that grand slam.

  12. skrockij89 2 years ago

    Wonder what the Mariners could get for Smoak?

    • Karl Johnson 2 years ago

      I definitely wouldn’t mind Justin Wilson or Jose Tabata

      • Smrtbusnisman04 2 years ago

        He’ll, u can have Tabata and his lackadaisical play. Just don’t sign him to an extension because he only plays well if money is on the line. I would love the Pirates to get Smoak. Only 3 years ago w as he the most promising prospect in baseball.

      • skrockij89 2 years ago

        Justin Wilson for smoak would be a good trade.

    • livestrong77nyyankz 2 years ago

      David Adams

  13. thegrayrace 2 years ago

    Might as well include Michael Young and Juan Uribe in this list if you’re going to bother with Youkilis… some teams were said to be considering Uribe for 1B and Michael Young is probably best suited for 1B at this point (if not a bench role).

  14. Rico Carson 2 years ago

    The Pirates are not desperate for a first basemen, and they do have some depth at second base. Josh Harrison, Adalberto Santos, and Alen Hanson are their immediate second base depth, with Hanson being a shortstop. The Pirates will probably try to acquire Ike Davis for a young starting pitcher like Brandon Cumpton, Jeff Locke, or Casey Saddler.

  15. Smrtbusnisman04 2 years ago

    I don’t see the logic around the Cardinals getting rid of Matt Adams.

  16. Christopher Velez 2 years ago

    I’m certain Darin Ruf would be available for a bag of balls. (Or a veteran middle reliever.) That kind of trade more or less guarantees he’ll go on to have a .900 OPS next year and be the World Series MVP.

  17. ac0814 2 years ago

    Mets and Brewers seem poised to get a deal done now. Davis + a lower-level pitching prospect with promise (Luis Cessa, Chris Flexen, Matthew Bowman) for Tyler Thornburg. Let’s get this done.

    • Byrontastic 2 years ago

      Tyler Thornburg isn’t happening. Melvin has stated that plainly. I’ve heard that Mike Fiers is a more likely opportunity.

    • Mil8Ball 2 years ago

      The 3 people you mentioned aren’t on any Top 20 team prospect list I have seen? The Brewers won’t even consider Thornburg for Davis…I doubt a no name lower level prospect makes that any more likely.

  18. Harvey Checking In 2 years ago

    Wonder if the Mets & Brewers will throw in a third player in a Davis & Thornburg deal.

    • SumatranRatMonkey 2 years ago

      The Mets would be the ones to have to sweeten the deal to get Thornburg.

  19. Marinersforever71 2 years ago

    Three way trade involving Blue Jays/Mariners/Pirates.
    Mariners get Jose Batista to play first base as Logan Morrison plays outfield.
    Blue Jays get Tabata or Justin Wilson, Locke, and a player to be named from the Mariners & Pirates.
    Pirates get Ackley or Franklin, Smoak, Maurer, and Pike.
    Please reply which players would make more sense for the Jays & Pirates.

    Mariners Starting Lineup Opening Day 2014 (barring injuries and big trade also w/ the Phillies)
    1. cf Dominic Brown
    2. 3b Kyle Seager
    3. 2b Robinson Cano
    4. 1b Jose Batista
    5. dh Kendry Morales, Raul Ibanez, or Kevin Youkilis
    6. rf Corey Hart
    7. c Carlos Ruiz
    8. lf Logan Morrison
    9. ss Brad Miller

    Starting Rotation
    1. Felix Hernandez
    2. Hisashi Iwakuma
    3. Cliff Lee
    4. Erasmo Ramirez (if not traded or free agent Ubaldo Jimenez)
    5. Taijuan Walker or Erasmo Ramirez

  20. dan 2 years ago

    inside sources tell me that lind will be the every day first basemen. EE went to gibbons and expressed his desire to stay in the DH spot

  21. Md2t23 2 years ago

    Awfully quiet on the Rangers front for the last 4 days.

  22. Md2t23 2 years ago

    Awfully quiet on the Rangers front for the last 4 days.

  23. Lanidrac 2 years ago

    What reason do the Cardinals have to trade Adams? Sure, they have the depth, but they have good depth everywhere other than catcher. A team would have to give up a comparable controllable young hitter to even have a chance.

  24. Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

    Maybe Tabata and Locke? I know that would be selling pretty low on Smoak and Ackley. Tabata quietly had a pretty solid season last year and Safeco would be a good place for Locke to pitch

  25. mateodh 2 years ago

    “All out for Marte” would be a different deal than one in which the Pirates acquire Smoak and/or Ackley.

  26. Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

    There is no way I could see Marte being involved in this or any other deal.

  27. Eddie Edwards 2 years ago

    Is this sarcasm?

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