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Dodgers Web musings: Is James Loney headed for the trade market?

November 16, 2010 |  4:18 pm

That prospect has been advanced from more than one circle, though it normally doesn’t come attached with who the Dodgers’ new first baseman would be.

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, one of baseball most respected national writers, is the latest to suggest that James Loney’s future may entail the trade market.

Most of the offseason attention understandably goes to the big names and top free agents. But Verducci put together a seven-man list of players on the secondary market who could have the biggest impact on the 2011 season, and there was Loney.

And’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi identified Loney as "the position player the Dodgers are most willing to move, according to major-league sources."

Loney is a moderate lightning rod among team followers. Praised by some for his smooth defensive play and consistent RBIs, and loathed by others who constantly lament his lack of power and signs of improvement.

He is arbitration eligible this offseason, and with another year of arbitration still ahead. Verducci estimates that Loney could command about $6 million in arbitration this year.

So the thinking is, Loney is just pricey enough that the Dodgers would consider moving him if it means solving a problem elsewhere.

Sure, but are you really going to be able to deal Loney for a power bat? If it’s just a matter of producing runs, he’s averaged 90 RBI the last three seasons.

Verducci argues Loney is a chance for another team to buy low on a player who is still only 26:

Here's what [sic] so encouraging about the thought of getting Loney out of Dodger Stadium and experiencing a breakout season: He hit 41 doubles last year and has been a much better hitter in his career on the road (.307 with a .854 OPS) than at home (.268 with a .711 OPS). He should interest the Rays, Jays, Nationals and Diamondbacks.

Even if the market is there, trading him naturally leaves another position hole for the Dodgers to fill.

Also on the Web:

-- The Times' Bill Shaikin spoke to Manny Ramirez agent Scott Boras, and the former Dodgers outfielder is finding slim pickings in the free-agent market.

--’s Ken Gurnick spoke to Rick Rhoden, the ex-Dodgers pitcher who became a professional golfer and would now like to become a minor-league pitching coach.

Rhoden spent the last month at the Dodgers’ Arizona instructional league in something of a trial coaching run. The Dodgers have yet to announce their coaching staffs at the major- or minor-league level.

--’s Mike Petriello thinks the Braves got second baseman Dan Uggla cheap and wonders where the Dodgers where in these trade talks.

-- ESPN/’s Jon Weisman takes a look at the impact of deferred contracts in the wake of signing Hiroki Kuroda.

--’s Eric Stephen doesn’t seem all that impressed that after the Dodgers sent James McDonald (and Andrew Lambo) to the Pirates for Octavio Dotel, they flipped Dotel to the Rockies six weeks later for a player to be named.

He was named Monday, and it’s Anthony Jackson, a 26-year-old outfielder who’s never played above Class AA.

-- Steve Dilbeck