James Loney hit .299 in his first season for the Rays in 2013. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The Pittsburgh Pirates are reportedly zeroing in on the Tampa Bay Rays' James Loney as their "top choice" for first base next season, according to a tweet from ESPN's Jayson Stark. The Pirates are also reportedly interested in the Toronto Blue Jays' Adam Lind and the Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland.
The potential departure of the 29-year-old Loney would leave the Rays with holes to fill at first and second base, as the Yankees are reportedly "on the brink" of a deal to bring Rays free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson to New York on a one-year deal.
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Loney had a .778 OPS this past season for the Rays. As a left-handed hitter, he would fit in well at PNC Park, a stadium typically friendlier for lefties because the right field wall is only 320 feet from home plate.
Loney is currently a free agent after signing a one-year, $2 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays in December 2012. He had previously spent six years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and played 30 games for the Red Sox in 2012, hitting .230. For his career, he has a .285 batting average, with 86 home runs and 534 RBI.
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