In 2014, the American League Central will look to bring the World...
Winter Meetings Roundup: Rays Add Two Infielders, Only One Was Good
I recently wrote about how the Tampa Bay Rays are the smartest team in baseball, but this week I almost wrote another post criticizing them for being profoundly dumb. The Rays signed first basemen James Loney for $2 million to be their starting first basemen. Believe it or not, that’s an overpay. James Loney might be the worst starting first basemen in baseball. By a lot. Arguably the best part of the Dodgers’ trade with the Red Sox last summer was that they were able to dump Loney (not really, but go with it). Sabermatricians estimate that fair market value is $5 million per full point of WAR, and last year Loney’s WAR was -.3. So, really, he should be paying the Rays to play for them, not the other way around. You’re telling me that the Rays don’t have a guy in the minors who can be a replacement level player in the pros? You’re telling me they can’t find anyone better than Loney who will play for less than $2 mil? Terrible contract for a bad player.
On the other hand, the Rays picked up noted homophobe Yunel Escobar for a minor leaguer from the Marlins. Though Escobar is an ass and a bad teammate, he’s a good shortstop. He posted an impressive 2.5 WAR last season in what was arguably a down year for him. He’s a career .282 hitter with some pop and some speed. He’ll be a nice compliment to Evan Longoria in the middle of the lineup and on the left side of the infield.