With a much more competitive race in the National League East than imagined, the teams at the top felt the need to add some veteran hitting to their starting line-up.
After losing Lucas Duda to a back fracture, the New York Mets acquired former Dodgers first baseman James Loney, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.
Compensation for the trade has not yet been announced, although it is not expected to be a major cost to New York considering Loney had an opt-out clause in his deal with San Diego.
Loney has spent all of the 2016 season for the Padres Triple-A team in El Paso after being released by Tampa Bay and signing a minor league contract with San Diego.
The lefty was hitting .342 in the minors this season before the move was reported this morning. He also has two home runs and 28 RBIs with El Paso.
The 32-year-old first baseman seemed to have confirmed the move on Twitter Saturday with a less than cryptic tweet.
Sounds like a done deal to me.
Last in the major leagues in 2015, Loney has a career major league batting average of .285 and 99 home runs over the span of 10 years. In every season as a full-time major league starter Loney has never had less than 100 hits in a season.
Drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft back in 2002 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Loney has long been a thorn in the Phillies side, especially in the postseason.
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In two National League Championship series against the Phillies while in Los Angeles, Loney hit a combined .394 and added two home runs in 10 games. He carries a career batting average of .354 in 89 post season plate appearances.
The first baseman has also spent time with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
Loney has remained relatively healthy prior to the 2015 season. He started the season on the disabled list with an oblique strain and was later placed back on the disabled list after breaking his middle finger less than two months later.
The Mets will get Loney reps at first base while Duda recovers from his back injury. The only first basemen listed on the Mets depth chart are Eric Campbell (who’s hitting .182) and rookie Ty Kelly, who has struck out three times in his only five major league at bats.
The Mets number one prospect, first baseman Dominic Smith, is currently in Double-A Binghamton and hitting .270. Smith is the 46th ranked prospect in baseball and the third-ranked first baseman currently in the minors.