Monday, November 15, 2010

Dodgers Willing to Trade Loney

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the current ownership situation,* Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti will face a pretty tall order this offseason.  He's being tasked with finding a way to construct a championship caliber team while maintaining or cutting payroll.  Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today that the position player the Dodgers would be "most willing to move is first baseman James Loney. 

*Will someone in Hollywood please contact Frank and Jamie McCourt?  If anyone needs a reality TV show, it's them.  It'd be a bigger disaster than the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  

What?!!  Are you serious?  James Loney is available?  Are you sure?  We are talking about the same James Loney that hit .267/.329/.395 (.315 wOBA) and provided 1.1 WAR in 2010, right?  Now, there's a shock!  I can't imagine any team wanting to trade away a light hitting first baseman with average on base skills! 

All right.  That's enough sarcasm for now.  I can't say that I'm surprised the Dodgers want to trade Loney.  What's to like?  Yeah, he's 26 and plays well defensively at his position, but he provides very little in terms of offense (only 1.3 weight runs above average between 2008-2010).  For a first baseman, Loney provides very little power.  In the last three seasons, he hit 36 home runs and slugged only .409.  Both numbers are among the worst in the league at the position.   A lot of people will point to Loney's RBI totals over the past three seasons (driven in at least 88 runs each season), as a measure of Loney's value.  The only problem is that RBIs don't show value; they're a context-less record of what occurred during a given game, season, or career.  Driving in runs is a function of opportunity, not talent.  Hell, if you give a replacement level player enough opportunities, he'll drive in 100 runs. 

I'm not sure what Colletti thinks he's going to get back for Loney.  As I stated above, he provides little offense for his position, and doesn't provide enough value on defense to make him a consistent 2.0 WAR player (the accepted minimum for an every day player).  There isn't a market for that kind of player--especially one that made $3.1M and is going into his second arbitration season.  It might be smarter for Colletti to non-tender him next month.      

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