The Texas Rangers signed veteran first baseman James Loney to a minor-league contract late Friday that gives him an invitation to spring training and a chance to compete for time at first base.
A source confirmed that Loney would make only $1 million if he reaches the major leagues, a cost that doesn’t take the Rangers out of the running for Mike Napoli or other free-agent first baseman who might be worth of a major-league deal.
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A second source said that Napoli doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to sign a contract. His camp and the Rangers have exchange proposals but aren’t yet close to a deal.
Loney, a Houston native, spent last season with the New York Mets and batted .265 with nine home runs in 100 games. His career-high in home runs is only 15, so he isn’t the power bat the Rangers are seeking to plug into first base.
Loney will compete with Ryan Rua, Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton for at-bats at first base. Hamilton, who signed a minor-league deal Tuesday, said that he has been working at first base and expects to play there much of spring training.