Rangers give Loney Minors deal, spring invite

Rangers give Loney Minors deal, spring invite

DALLAS -- The Rangers officially announced the signing of first baseman James Loney to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Tuesday.

The contract is not likely to handcuff the Rangers' ability to sign free-agent first baseman Mike Napoli if the two sides can reach an agreement on length and value of a deal.

The club also invited the following five players to Major League Spring Training: right-handers R.J. Alvarez, Ariel Jurado and Jose Valdespina, as well as catchers Jose Trevino and Patrick Cantwell.

Loney is an 11-year veteran who spent most of last season with the Mets and hit .265 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 100 games. He had a .307 on-base percentage and a .397 slugging percentage. The left-handed-hitting slugger hit .282 with a .419 slugging percentage against right-handers and .173 with a .269 slugging percentage against lefties.

He has a career .284 batting average, and over 162 games, he is averaging 30 doubles, 12 home runs and 75 RBIs.

Loney gives the Rangers some veteran insurance among a mixed bag of first-base candidates. The list includes Josh Hamilton, who is going to try to play first base this spring for the first time since he was in American Legion Baseball. The other candidates include Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar and Ronald Guzman.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.