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Tag:James Loney
Posted on: February 1, 2012 3:35 pm
 

James Loney won't face DUI charges

James LoneyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Dodgers first baseman James Loney won't be charged for an incident in November in which he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after he sideswiped several cars on the 101 Freeway, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At the time, Loney pled his innocence, even though a police report suspected he was under the unfluence. Drug tests came back negative and the city attorney's office announced there was insignificant evident.

Loney, 27, hit .288/.339/.416 for the Dodgers last season and will be a free agent after the 2012 season.

For some reason, each report notes that he was driving a Maserati, as if it's a surprise that young guy in Los Angeles who made nearly $5 million last season drives a nice car. I'd be much more interested in the make of the car if it were a Kia or something.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:41 am
 

HomegrownTeam: Los Angeles Dodgers



By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Do the Dodgers do well in drafts and international signings? The answer is a resounding yes. What they do with those players could certainly be questioned, but as far as building a foundation, few have been better in recent years. See below.

Lineup

1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Matt Kemp, LF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Carlos Santana, C
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Cairo, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Edwin Jackson
3. Ted Lilly
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Chad Billingsley

If you don't like us using Kuroda -- some commenters have disagreed with including guys who were professional players in Japan in this series -- you can slide in James McDonald or the youngster Rubby De La Rosa.

Bullpen

Closer - Joakim Soria
Set up - Javy Guerra, Joel Hanrahan, Kenley Jansen, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Feliciano, Cory Wade
Long - McDonald

Notable Bench Players

Russell Martin, Henry Blanco, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Alex Cora

What's Good?

Spoiler Alert: This section is going to be much longer than "what's not." How about starting with the offensive firepower Victorino, Kemp, Konerko, Beltre and Santana bring in the 2-6 spots of the order? That is sick. Gordon has good potential and Gutierrez was a decent hitter before his stomach issues derailed him a few years ago. The starting rotation is good, deep, has a good lefty-righty mix and a true ace sitting at the top. The bullpen is so deep it's unimaginable. It's not as great as the Yankees' bullpen (Clippard-Robertson-Axford-Rivera) in this exercise, but this is definitely an elite unit. The bench is pretty damn good, too. Best of all, though, how about the defensive range? Gutierrez was widely considered the best center fielder in baseball before his stomach woes. Victorino is a three-time Gold Glover while he lost out to Kemp this season. I decided to shift Kemp to left because Victorino has a cannon that is an asset in right. Not that Kemp can't throw. This would be one insane defensive outfield. Beltre is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, too. That's a lot of help for an already-good pitching staff.

What's Not?

Anything would be a nitpick. Maybe that Dee Gordon might not yet be ready to lead off for this team? If that was the case, you could move up Victorino and then the bottom of the order becomes a bit weak. But, again, that's a nitpick.

Comparison to real 2011

I kind of chuckled during all the MVP arguments when people would say that Kemp played for a team that "sucks." The Dodgers finished 82-79. Yes, they were out of contention for pretty much all of the season, but they finished above .500, so they definitely don't suck. Of course, those real-life Dodgers couldn't hold a candle to this group. This is a World Series-caliber club, but the funny thing is, did you see Arizona's team? The D-Backs lineup is much better, but the Dodgers have the better defense and pitching. We'd have a nice battle for the NL West title and maybe even see a rematch in the NLCS. If only ...

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:56 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:55 pm
 

Report: Dodgers' Loney arrested in November

James LoneyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Dodgers first baseman James Loney was reportedly arrested and hospitalized last month after crashing his Maserati into three other cars, according to TMZ.com.

Citing a police report, the TMZ.com report states Loney swerved into one car and then hit two more around 6 p.m. on Nov. 14. Although it says police suspected he was under the influence of drugs, a blood sample came back negative for drugs and alcohol.

The report said Loney was "restless, unsteady, aggressive and irritable." After being handcuffed and taken to a hospital, the report alleges Loney bit off the mouthpiece of a brethalyzer and spit it back at a police officer.

Although Loney was never formally booked, the case is now being handled by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Monday trade sets stage for busy Hot Stove season



By Matt Snyder


Sure, Derek Lowe was dealt to the Indians in a salary dump and we've seen a few signings, but things have been pretty slow of late in Major League Baseball news. When the biggest name to sign a contract with a new team thus far is a backup first baseman/pinch-hitter (Jim Thome), it says everything you need to know about this past week in actual transactions. So forgive us for loving Melky Cabrera and Jonathan Sanchez swapping addresses. It's something, and it serves as a nice little unofficial start to the Hot Stove season.

With just one week to the general manager meetings in Milwaukee, it's time to focus on other potential trade candidates. Obviously rumors don't always come to fruition and we're shocked with non-rumored trades going down on occasion, but here are some names that either make sense or have been rumored to be on the move in the recent past.

• The White Sox's farm system is in absolute shambles and the major-league club doesn't appear ready to compete with the Tigers any time soon, so it's possible general manager Kenny Williams decides to rebuild. Since Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have no trade value, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin would be the parts most likely to move.

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is a free agent after the 2012 season and he could be a helpful four or five starter for a contender. He's thrown at least 190 innings in each of the past four seasons.

Hot Stove Season
• Do new Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to cut the sunk costs of Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano? They'd have to eat a significant portion of the remaining salaries (and for Soriano it's $54 million left on the deal), but the duo isn't helping the Cubs win in 2012. Also, Marlon Byrd only has one year left on his contract and prospect Brett Jackson will likely be ready to take over in center soon. The guess is Byrd has more value by the trade deadline in '12, though.

Rays center fielder B.J. Upton has long been rumored to be a trade candidate, and this winter it might finally happen with Desmond Jennings clearly ready to take over in center. Also, if the Rays are ready to deal a starting pitcher, Jeff Niemann is most likely.

Denard Span was rumored to be a trade candidate back in July, and the Twins could part with their center fielder to shore up the pitching staff.

We've already heard the rumors about Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado from Atlanta, but it's possible since talks fizzled with the Royals that the Braves just hold both.

• Do the Angels try to shed Alberto Callaspo and/or Maicer Izturis and then land free agent Aramis Ramirez at third? They probably would need to shed more payroll in order to do so.

• Starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers could easily be on the move from Houston, but the guess is the ownership situation would need to be resolved first.

• After a disappointing 2011 season, the Rockies have plenty of trade candidates. Chris Iannetta probably stays put, but Huston Street, Ian Stewart, Seth Smith and Ty Wigginton all make sense in potential deals.

Dodgers first baseman James Loney finished 2011 with a bang, which might mean it's the Dodgers last chance to get something of value in return for him. There are a few small-market matches, too, including the Indians.

• Finally, as we've already noted, the A's have put basically the entire team on the block.

So fasten your seatbelts, the action has only just begun.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:53 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 82-79, third place in NL West, 11.5 games back
Manager: Don Mattingly
Best hitter: Matt Kemp -- .324/.399/.586, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 115 R, 40 SB
Best pitcher: Clayton Kershaw -- 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 248 K, 233 1/3 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Dodgers were mediocre at best and pretty bad at times for most of the 2011 season, but all of a sudden, something seemed to click. After an August 21 loss, the Dodgers sat 57-69. The rest of the way, they went 25-10. Simply: For the last five weeks of the season, the Dodgers were one of the best teams in baseball. It's just that it was too late and not many noticed -- including Joe Buck, who said "a bad Dodgers team" during the ALCS telecast Saturday night.

On the field, this Dodgers season will be remembered for two reasons. More specifically, two players. Matt Kemp would have the NL MVP in the bag had his teammates played better all season. He may lose out to Ryan Braun, though, due to many voters believing the winner of the individual award has to come from a team that was in contention. Clayton Kershaw won the pitching triple crown (led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts -- note: He tied Ian Kennedy in wins, but that still counts). He's the likely Cy Young Award winner in the NL.

Off the field, this Dodgers season has been completely and utterly marred by owner Frank McCourt. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, he's still the owner. At least as of this writing.

2012 AUDIT

R.I.P. series
Despite the strong close, the Dodgers are still in a state of limbo. There are several holes and the ownership mess makes it unknown as to how they can proceed. Fortunately, the nucleus is young and rather strong. Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra make a strong back-end duo in the bullpen. Kershaw is an elite ace. Kemp is one of the best all-around players in baseball. Chad Billingsley is fickle, but he's still only 27. The youth movement showed promise for the future, too, with Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa (who had Tommy John surgery in August) showing they can be part of the solution in L.A. On the other hand, decisions need to be made with James Loney, Andre Ethier, catcher, second base and third base.

The franchise is not set up to be a slam-dunk contender, nor is it set up for futility in the near future. If the ownership situation would get settled very soon and the Dodgers could be a major player in free agency, they'd have a great shot at winning the NL West in 2012. It's just that we don't know how long the ownership situation will linger. Even if McCourt lost the team today, however, the approval process wouldn't be complete until it was too late to make several major plays at the likes of Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson.

FREE AGENTS

Rod Barajas, C
Jamey Carroll, 2B
Aaron Miles, 2B
Casey Blake, 3B (option declined)
Juan Rivera, OF
Jon Garland, SP (option declined)
Hiroki Kuroda, SP
Jonathan Broxton, RP
Mike MacDougal, RP
Vicente Padilla, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, they can't act like a large-market team as long as the McCourt financial stuff continues. And that won't be resolved this offseason. Still, there is significant payroll coming off the books. The general direction of the franchise should be to try and compete with the younger players while letting the aging veterans walk, but a few exceptions can be made -- because it's very realistic that the Dodgers can compete in the NL West in 2012.
  • They can probably make a run at Jose Reyes. His zealous personality would fit perfectly in Hollywood, just as his bat would atop the order. Gordon could be moved to second base and hit second. So the lineup would start: Reyes, Gordon, Kemp, Ethier (well, maybe, we'll get to that ... ).
  • Play Juan Uribe full time at third base. He's not too old to bounce back from an injury-plagued campaign.
  • Dangle Ethier as a trade candidate. Even when he's at his best, he's not an elite player -- yet many seem to view him as one. He's a free agent at the end of 2012 and has had several episodes of complaining about the team and then backing off the comments. I wouldn't necessarily come out and say he's gone, but instead quietly shop him. If he can be dealt for prospects, Sands and Tony Gwynn Jr. are enough to fill out the outfield for the time being, while L.A. just treads water waiting for the ownership situation to be sorted out.
  • Give Loney one last chance. The 27 year old was one of the best hitters in the league in the last five weeks. If it was a fluke, the Dodgers can address first base next season. If the McCourt situation was different, a run at Fielder or Albert Pujols while selling high Loney would make a lot of sense, but I just don't think they could pull that off financially at this point.
  • Bring Kuroda back for one more year. He wants to stay in L.A. anyway, and with De La Rosa on the shelf recovering from surgery, there's a need for a stop-gap in the rotation. 
  • If there's any possible way to do so financially, Kemp needs a huge contract extension. He's only 27 and can anchor the franchise for a long time. He's also wildly popular, so this would at least send a message to the fans that the Dodgers are still very relevant.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 9, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 11:59 am
 

Dodgers benching Loney against left-handers

Loney

By Evan Brunell


The Dodgers appear resigned to benching James Loney against left-handers, according to MLB.com. Loney's promising play in 2006 and '07 have given way to dispiriting performances at first base. He has a .241/.292/.310 line so far in 2011, and the Dodgers are getting frustrated.

Loney's .173/.228/.192 line against left-handers bears out a pathetic .188 wOBA (Fangraphs' version of OPS, scaled to OBP) which is seventh-worst in all of baseball. Despite that futility, manager Don Mattingly isn't willing to bench Loney completely against left handers.

"I can't say it's a straight platoon, but we're trying to find more offense," Mattingly said. "James kind of hasn't thumped lefties and we've got to find extra runs here and there."

On Wednesday against Cole Hamels, usual third-baseman Casey Blake shifted to first base with Juan Uribe manning third, freeing up second base for the hot Jamey Carroll. When Loney starts against lefties, Blake will likely return to third with Uribe and Carroll sharing time at second.

Loney's benching against lefties hides a bigger issue: his constant tinkering with his batting stance that could be harming his numbers as he hurtles his way toward a likely non-tender in the offseason. Already making $4.875 million on the year, Loney isn't worth that salary currently and won't be worth the raise he would be sure to get in his final year of arbitration unless he can find a way to get going offensively. That won't happen as long as Loney won't allow himself to settle into a stance.

"He's rolling and the next day it's like, Uncle Harry got to him overnight and he's got a different stance," said Mattingly. "Sometimes it changes from at-bat to at-bat. To be consistent, you stay with your base. But if it's not working, you can't expect to change [results] without changes."

Mattingly added that sometimes Loney's explanations for changing his batting stance don't make sense, but Loney comes from a good place in his reasoning.

"I'm sure he's trying to be better than he's been," Mattingly said. "You always try to get better. Sometimes you're an inch away and you make a foot-long change. That's what scares you. I'm talking from experience."

So when will Loney go back to starting full-time against lefties?

"I hate to say what I'm going to do when I don't really know," Mattingly said. "There's nothing wrong with a little competition. We've got to find a way to put up more runs. I think James is a confident kid and it's not a matter of me not believing in him. But there's never anything wrong with competition. You've got to continue proving yourself. There's always somebody coming. Put up the numbers. You've got to perform. There really are no free rides. You know it's there with James, you've seen it. But it's not about yesterday, it's about today."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 9, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 11:27 am
 

Pepper: Greinke's new home, Phillies, more




By Matt Snyder


ADJUSTMENT PERIOD OVER: Carl Crawford just needed a little patience. After a catastrophic beginning to his career in Boston, the speedy left fielder is swinging a hot bat in May. For the month, he's hitting .387 with two doubles and a triple. He's been hitting eighth in the batting order and manager Terry Francona had said that the Red Sox big offseason signing would move back up toward the top of the order when he started hitting. So does the current run suffice? Not quite yet.

“If you move one guy, somebody else goes, too,” Francona said (Boston Herald ). “I think there will be a time when it seems to me that it works for everybody that I would like to do that. He’s swinging the bat better, which is good. But it also has to work with everybody else, too.”

The Red Sox currently have Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis in the 1-2-3 spots. There really doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that set up, so Francona has a point. Or maybe insert Crawford at the two-hole and knock everyone back a slot? There's probably no wrong answer.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Alexi Ogando is suffering through a blister on his pitching hand (the index finger), which was the reason he missed Sunday's scheduled start. Fortunately he pitches for the Rangers, because team president Nolan Ryan dealt with the same issue back when he was a youngster for the Mets. Ryan's been helping Ogando use some remedies that helped him, such as shaving the blister so it dries out and rubbing pickle juice on it. While we're here, just to stave off the crowd of athlete-haters, a blister isn't a pain issue for pitchers. It's a matter of affecting command. (Star-Telegram.com )

FIVES ARE WILD: Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, every single American League game Sunday ended with one team having scored five runs. It was the first time a league had every game with one team scoring the same run total since August 10, 1993 when it happened in the NL. It doesn't mean anything, obviously, but it's a quasi-interesting little anomaly. (Hardball Talk )

FIRST IMPRESSION: Phenom Julio Teheran debuted Saturday for the Braves against the Phillies -- in Philadelphia, no less, which isn't exactly an easy place for opposing pitchers -- He only made it through 4 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, three earned runs and two walks while only striking out one. Still, it wasn't an awful debut. The kid is 20. Braves' skipper Fredi Gonzalez made sure to let Teheran he was pleased with the effort. "I wanted to make sure he told him that he did good and that he was impressive and that we liked the way he handled himself," Gonzalez said. "We told him that last night. But we wanted to make sure they told him again." (MLB.com )

LONEY WAKING UP: Judging from what I've seen on Twitter and message boards, James Loney is the most-maligned person affiliated with the Dodgers not named McCourt. It's easy to see why, as he's flashed the power of a sub-par middle infielder while playing a traditional power position for the past several years. But he is starting to swing the bat better. He's hitting .382 in his past 11 games, helping his season batting average to rise 56 points. (LA Times ) Then again, he hasn't had a single extra-base hit in that span. Don't expect the chirping to stop any time soon.

AUSTIN, TOO: It's been a rough 2011 for Tigers second-year center fielder Austin Jackson. He entered the weekend hitting .190 with a .258 OBP and 43 strikeouts in 121 at-bats. Don't count out the 24 year old just yet, though, because he showed signs of life in a three-game series at Toronto. He went 7-13 for a double, home run, two RBI and two runs, raising his average 34 points. "He is gradually coming back," manager Jim Leyland said. "When he puts it in play, he gets hits. When he put the ball in play last year he had a fantastic batting average." (Detroit Free Press )

NO SALE: Chris Sale, a 22-year-old flamethrower for the White Sox, burst onto the scene last season and looked dominant. He threw only 23 1/3 innings, but struck out 32 hitters en route to posting a 1.93 ERA. This year, he's only thrown 11 1/3 innings, but has allowed the exact same number of hits (15), more earned runs (nine, compared to five last year) and more home runs (three, compared to two last year). His ERA is a grotesque 7.15. His fastball velocity is down, which could be part of the problem, but Sale isn't buying that. “My main focus is not about lighting up the radar gun,’’ he said. "Everybody in this league can hit 98. That’s no secret. It’s a ­matter of where the pitch is, not how hard it is. I’m just trying to get back into a rhythm and figure out what’s the reason behind what’s going on." Everyone in the league can hit 98? Brandon Webb begs to differ. And someone get Greg Maddux on the phone ... though Maddux would most certainly agree with Sale's general point, which is that there's more to pitching than throwing hard. (Chicago Sun Times )

FOR REAL FRENCHY? Another season, another discussion of how good/bad Jeff Francoeur is. This time he's off to a hot start, so Fangraphs checks it out . The highlights are that his home runs per fly ball rate is unsustainable, but that Francoeur is swinging at far fewer pitches this season than in years past -- so the plate discipline improvement could propel him to one of his best seasons.

HOME COOKIN': Anibal Sanchez was one of the pitching stars of Mother's Day, as he took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up with a career-high 11 strikeouts. So, of course, this was somehow due to his mom. "She made me breakfast this morning, so that's why I threw a game like that," Sanchez told reporters after the game.

QUADRUPLE-A: Taylor Teagarden hit three home runs and drove home seven in his return to Triple-A Sunday. That means in just seven Triple-A games this year, he has five bombs and 11 RBI. His last full season in the minors -- all the way back in 2007, Teagarden hit .310 with 27 home runs and 83 RBI. But in the majors, well, that's a different story. We know he has power. He has hit 16 home runs in 320 major-league at-bats, but he's also struck out 130 times and has a putrid .285 on-base percentage. Hey, maybe the Rangers can trade him to the Red Sox, just like they did Jarrod Saltalamacchia, another AAAA player.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: May 3, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Loney's struggles earn him fines for fly balls

Loney

By Evan Brunell

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is so sick of seeing James Loney loft fly balls into left field for an easy out that he's decided to fine the first baseman a dollar per left-field fly out. (Loney will earn a buck per lineout.)

2010

Mattingly is trying to get Loney to square up the ball to pull it or rifle a line drive to left. The 26-year-old -- who turns 27 in a matter of days -- is hitting a disappointing .202/.233/.239 on the year. Given Loney is not known for his power with sub-.400 slugging percentages the last two seasons, his lack of average and OBP is truly concerning. He was already a below-par first baseman, but with his decrease in plate discipline, has become an outright liability.

Interestingly enough, Loney's fly-ball percentage has actually decreased, with the difference going to groundballs, which now compromise 50 percent of his batted-ball profile. No wonder he's doing so terribly -- when you can only muster a weak groundout to an infielder, you won't get a hit.

But those flyballs remain problematic nonetheless. For Loney to loft a flyball to the opposite field, it means he's not squaring the ball up properly and hitting the ball near the end of the bat, or getting under the pitch. He's already lifted six fly balls in Dodger Stadium in 16 games to straightaway left field, while he only sent 13 in that direction last season in 80 games. (Spray chart of flyballs, right, courtesy MLB.com.) Way too many easy outs.

Loney's problems are compounded by his strugles against same-handed pitchers. Facing southpaws has given Loney fits so far this year, as he's slashing just .125/.120/.245 against them, compared with career numbers of .256/.314/.371. Not exactly scintillating numbers, but a darn sight better than what he's thrown up thus far. 

2011Loney's making close to $5 million this season and would command a raise in his final year of arbitration next season even if he continues to flop majorly, as long as he receives ample playing time. That's a major negative of the arbitration process, and it's difficult to imagine L.A. going that route again after already biting the bullet.

Once upon a time, Loney actually did slug. His rookie campaign of 2006, when he received 111 plate appearances as a 22-year-old, came with six doubles and four home runs. He kept that up the next year with a .538 slugging percentage in 375 PA, bashing 15 home runs -- but he hasn't reached that number since. The next year, he sent out only 13 balls but managed to stay respectable with a .434 slugging percentage in 651 PA. It's been downhill since, and he only just cracked double-digits in homers for 2010 by sending one out September 28. It's not as if he contributes offensively in other areas, either; his batting average has decreased every season from 2007 to last year, bottoming out at .267. With a merely average eye, his OBP didn't help matters either at .329.

Loney's already losing time against lefties with Jerry Sands taking over first, allowing Marcus Thames to continue platooning out in left field. If he doesn't turn it around soon, the Dodgers won't hesitate to bench Loney and find a different solution. Loney simply isn't in the position to justify being consistently run out onto the field. Yes, he's only just turning 27, and is plenty young, but he's had three full years of minimal power and offense and is overpaid at almost $5 million a year. Defense only takes you so far, and right now, Loney is not deserving of a starting spot.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com