Former big league first baseman James Loney is looking to resurrect his career by joining on with the indy ball Sugar Land Skeeters, Baseball America’s JJ Cooper tweets. Loney is slated to line up in the field and on the mound for his new club, in addition to serving as a player-coach.
As Cooper notes, Loney was seen as a two-way prospect as an amateur. Taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2002 draft, Loney ultimately pursued a career with the bat. He had his ups and downs over the years, but carved out an eleven-year career as a low-power first baseman, ultimately turning in 5,487 plate appearances of .284/.336/.410 hitting with 108 home runs.
Loney last appeared on the transactional map in 2017, when he signed on for a brief run with Korea’s LG Twins. The club was not pleased with what it received from him in a 23-game stint — a very Loney-esque .278/.366/.456 slash with three home runs and 11 walks against just 14 strikeouts over 93 plate appearances — and he elected to leave the KBO rather than accept a demotion.
Whether Loney can craft a return to the majors as a two-way player will obviously remain to be seen, though the odds seem long. Given that he’s taking on a coaching role as part of the signing, that may not even be the goal. He’ll reach his 35th birthday in three months and has not dedicated himself to the craft of pitching since high school. That said, it will surely be interesting to see whether Loney can find a spark upon re-taking the mound.