ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays have signed free agent first baseman James Loney to a one-year major league contract.
Loney, 28, split the 2012 season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox and combined to bat .249 (108-for-434) with six home runs and 41 RBI in 144 games. The left-handed hitter started the season with the Dodgers and was traded to the Red Sox on August 25 along with Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands in exchange for Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto. Prior to the trade, Loney had spent his entire career with the Dodgers after being selected with their first-round pick (No. 19 overall) in the 2002 June Draft.
The seven-year major league veteran has a .282 career batting average including .294 against right-handed pitchers and .307 when batting with runners in scoring position. He has also totaled 73 home runs, 175 doubles and 459 RBI during his major league career. His .996 fielding percentage as a first baseman over the last three seasons (2010-12) is tied for third best in the majors. For his career, he has only made 45 errors in 7,453 total chances at first base (.994 fielding percentage).