The Detroit Tigers announced that they have signed veteran first baseman James Loney to a minor league deal.
One of general manager Al Avila's priorities this offseason was to add more major-league ready depth to the organization. The signing of Loney shows that the Tigers are still working to improve their organization depth.
Loney was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 2002 MLB Draft. Over his 11-year big league career, the 32-year-old has posted a slash line of .284/.336/.410. Along with being a very good hitter, Loney also rates as an above-average defensive first basemen.
The veteran first baseman spent the 2016 season with the New York Mets, hitting .265 with 9 home runs and 34 RBIs in 100 games. Loney struggled to find a new home this offseason, but finally found an opportunity with the Tigers organization.
For the Tigers, the signing of Loney makes a lot of sense. Prior to signing Loney, the Tigers didn't have any major-league ready depth at first base in their minor league system. Adding Loney into the mix adds depth in case Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez suffer a long-term injury throughout the season.
According to the team, Loney will report to extended spring training in Lakeland, Florida. It's likely that the 32-year-old will be assigned to Triple-A once his time in extended spring training is complete.