The time has come for the New York Mets to stop playing first baseman James Loney.
Thank you. Thank you for being a serviceable fill-in to Lucas Duda, albeit for a small stretch, this 2016 baseball season.
While the Metsies sputtered throughout late-May, June, and July to the tune of a sub-.500 record, you were their rock at first base while they lost, then won, and then lost again.
For a handful of weeks, you consistently made contact, consistently found holes in the defense, and consistently got on base.
Through your first 27 games, you gave the Mets a .294 batting average, 10 RBI, a few homers, and an astounding lack of speed, challenging only Rene Rivera and Travis d’Arnaud for the title as “Slowest Player in Flushing.”
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Though, don’t be down, you know what they say. What you lack in speed you gain in smarts, and, well, you’re pretty smart … I guess. How else could I explain the wizardry you performed in duping the Mets into signing a washed up mid-30s player rotting on the San Diego Padres Triple-A squad?
It was a trick even Gandalf the White would applaud.
Don’t forget, you are unique too, James. It’s not often a player grasps the major league landscape and its fans with sweet scoops on errant throws rather than a flashy, productive at-bat. Yet, somehow, someway, you’ve made a living off of it.
I get it. I do. At the ripe old age of 32-years old, you’re way past your prime. The days of (impressive) 12 home run seasons, barely-positive WARs, and diving stops as a sure-handed first baseman are over.
These days it appears as if you dive in slow-motion, with your gut hitting the ground seconds after the ball reaches the glove of Terry Collins’ right-fielder-on-duty. Much to my dismay, this real-time special effect isn’t an issue with the television, but an issue with the Mets starting first baseman … You.
This brings me to my main point. You’re not baseball’s Brett Favre. You’re not built to last. Whatever ability you had left — which I assure you was quite limited — has all but vanished.
In the month of August, you, an everyday player, recorded the very same amount of walks and extra-base hits as your heavyset 43-year-old pitching teammate, Bartolo Colon.
Thanks for the effort but, now, it’s time to take a hike.
A Mets Fan