The Tampa Bay Rays, trying to address one of their many offensive holes, are close to signing free-agent first baseman James Loney, according to a major-league source.
Loney, 28, would replace free agent Carlos Pena, who batted .197 with a .684 OPS last season. Loney hit a combined .249 for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, but had only a .630 OPS.
The deal, expected to be for one year, likely will be the first of several moves the Rays make this off-season. The team also is looking for a catcher, designated hitter, outfielder and middle infielder.
Loney was part of the blockbuster that the Dodgers and Red Sox made in August, sending first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, left fielder Carl Crawford and right-hander Josh Beckett to Los Angeles.