On-Base Perception

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Report: Rays sign James Loney

New York Yankees' Derek Jeter (2) tries to

New York Yankees' Derek Jeter (2) tries to beat out a grounder as Boston Red Sox first baseman James Loney covers the base during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston. (Sept. 12, 2012) (Credit: AP)

The Rays just replaced Carlos Pena's production at first base for a fraction of the cost.

Tampa Bay signed James Loney to a one-year deal worth $2 million, according to Jon Heyman. The contract includes up to a possible $1 million in incentives.

Loney had a .630 OPS playing for the Dodgers and Red Sox in 2012, hitting six home runs with a .249 average. Last season's Rays first baseman, Carlos Pena, had a .684 OPS and, though he had 19 home runs, Pena hit just .197. He also made $7.25 million.

Tampa has multiple holes to fill this offseason: in the outfield, at designated hitter and the middle infield. Acquiring a catcher might also be on the team's wish list.

Though Loney had a miserable 2012, he has been a serviceable, if unspectacular, player for most of his career. From his debut in 2006 to 2011, he only once posted an average below .281. He hit double-digit home runs from 2007-2011 and drove in at least 88 runs from 2008-2010.

The Rays are essentially gambling on a bounce-back year from Loney at a low cost.

But they have a lot more work to do.

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