Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

James Loney to Return to Tampa Bay Rays

First baseman re-signs three-year deal to return to Rays.

Free agent first baseman James Loney will be extending his stay in the Tampa area.

You know what you’re getting with Loney. You get durability as over the past six seasons, he has averaged 157 games played. You get decent offensive production. Over those same six seasons, Loney’s triple slash is .280/.336/.404. You get quality defense. Not only was Loney one of the three finalist for the AL Gold Glove for first baseman, he owns a career DRS of 37 and UZR of 8.6 (6.1 in ’13).

Nothing spectacular, just steady play. Seems Loney is a guy that fits well into Joe Maddon‘s lineup.

There were reportedly other teams interested in Loney’s services. At one time or another, the Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers were also in the market for Loney. The Rockies inked Justin Morneau, taking them out of the mix. The Buccos, seeking a lefty hitter, have yet to find their guy, as is the case with the Brewers who are just looking for a first baseman period. They can’t go 2014 with Juan Francisco, can they?

As far as Loney being the recipient of $21MM, Over the past three seasons, Fangraphs has Loney’s value as $20.5MM ($8.9MM in ’11, -$1.9 in ’12 and $13.5MM last season).

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