With the San Diego Padres desperately needing some offense to begin their 2016 season, they made a small, possibly rewarding signing on Thursday night.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, first baseman James Loney has agreed to a minor league deal with the team.
The Padres' offense has been atrocious, actually being shut out in their first three games against the Dodgers. Loney obviously won't be expected to immediately come in and fix this issue, but is a low-risk, high-reward type deal that could be key come the middle of the season.
Released by the Rays following Spring Training, Loney is a ten-year Major League veteran with the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Tampa Bay that was among the league's satisfactory hitters during his prime.
Now almost 32, Loney has lost quite a bit of pop from his best days, but was still an above-average hitter at the big league level just two seasons ago.
A full-time first baseman, Loney should be able to be a solid option for the Padres off the bench if he is promoted to the Majors. For the time being, Wil Myers is the Padres' starting option at the position.
In 388 plate appearances last season, Loney hit .280/.322/.357 with four home runs and 32 RBIs. According to FanGraphs, he was worth -1.3 Wins Above Replacement in 2015.
Loney did have a good year the prior season, however, hitting .290/.336/.380 with nine homers and 69 RBIs in 651 plate appearances.
It remains to be seen whether he will be able to find his old stroke in San Diego, but if he can, the Padres' offense may get a slight boost going forward. At this point, they can only hope so.