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December 6, 2013

Rumor Roundup

Fixing a Hole

by Daniel Rathman


Pirates prefer James Loney among available first basemen
If general manager Neal Huntington could have his pick of the first-base litter at a reasonable cost, rival clubs believe they know who he would choose. ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeted on Wednesday that teams that have been in contact with the Pirates have come away thinking that Loney, who spent the 2013 season with the Rays, is the apple of Huntington’s eye.

The 29-year-old Loney compiled a .299/.348/.430 triple-slash line for Joe Maddon’s squad in 2013, good for a .281 TAv, his best in any full major-league season. That might seem uninspiring for an everyday player at a premium offensive position, but the National League average was .260, and even the Pirates’ bundle of Garrett Jones, Justin Morneau, and Gaby Sanchez outperformed it.

Jones received his walking papers on Monday, when the Pirates opted against tendering him a contract after getting replacement-level work for $4.5 million last season. Morneau, who was acquired from the Twins at the end of August, signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the Rockies on Tuesday.

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