Originally posted on Dodgers Rumors  |  Last updated 4/18/12

I've been saying it for years now, sigh...wow this has really gone on forever hasn't it? First the good. The Dodgers are officially 9-2 after Javy Guerra's blown save tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers. Unbelievable wasn't it? I'm still fuming. With that should have been win tonight, it would have been the best start for the Dodgers since they moved to Los Angeles back in 1958. Half glass full, it's still the best start for the franchise since they won the World Series back in 1981, yeah, I'm not complaining.

The only problem is our number six hitter James Loney has yet to show up offensively. Shocking? Not in the slightest. I've been saying it for what seems like an eternity. Loney sentences around here usually have words like trade, non-tender, over-rated, and pack your bags in them. I can remember falling in love with this guy way back in his early minor league years, and I was one of his biggest supporters as he was making his way up to AAA, and eventually the majors. We all know the offensive roller coaster that is James Loney, but for how much longer can this go on? Will Magic and Kasten be okay with Loney gold glovin' it over at first base? Or will they be inclined to go find a real slugger first basemen, you know one that actually slugs?

So where are we at in this whole scenario? Well first I would like to point out that never, not even in his minor league days has Loney hit for power. Scouts speculated because of his sweet swing and his incredible ability to hit the ball long and hard, that his power would eventually come. But at the age of 27 (28 in a couple weeks) I'm thinking it just ain't gonna happen. In his minor league days the most homers Loney ever hit was 11. In the majors, his best so far is 15. That accomplishment came back in 2007, which was basically his best offensive season.. So those of you who thought Loney (I was one of them after the 2007 season) might hit 25 home runs someday is wrong.

"But wait he had an awesome finish to the 2011 season!"

Yep! He sure did. It's called a hot streak, it happens in sports, and Loney is a very streaky offensive baseball player. 

"2012 is the year of James Loney."

No. Actually it's not. Myself, analysts, and pretty much every single human being on the planet has been saying this will be the year James Loney becomes a powerhouse slugger. So no. To correct that, 2012 is the year of Matt Kemp. 2012 will be the last year we see James Loney in a Dodger uniform. Yes I know, I have been saying that for two years now. But Ned Colletti can't seem to get his head out of James Loney's ass. Colletti is in love with this guy. Heck I was once too, but that ship has sailed.

2012 has brought nothing for James Loney except, well, nothing.

Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS 2012 31 1 6 2 0 0 3 0 5 4 .194 .306 .258 .564 162 Game Avg. 566 66 162 32 4 14 86 6 51 77 .287 .345 .430 .776 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/18/2012.
It will be interesting to see if Loney is able to get near that 162 game average this season. So far it's not looking good, Loney is having a lot of trouble making solid contact. He seems to be really uncomfortable at the plate and just looks plain lost. You might call it a make or break season for Loney in 2012. So it will be interesting to see how the next couple weeks fair for the once extremely promising James Loney. All I know  is he has work cut out for him and his leash is getting shorter and shorter.

So the question of how long will we see Loney batting sixth? Well here's the thing, while I am worried, very worried, especially since he's making a ton of money to be a very average baseball player. Loney still has some value left in him. Yes he is very streaky offensively and incredibly frustrating to watch at the plate right now, but he has a way of consisting driving in runs. I mean not many guys can be as clutch as James Loney when it comes to runners in scoring position. Loney can always seem to find that clutch double to knock in a run or two when the Dodgers need it. If he can hit .280 and cash-in 85-plus RBI's I think I can live with that for one last season.

The glove. Yes that glove of deserving gold that Loney wields is a whole other value all on its own. Especially considering you have a very young shortstop, and one of the wildest and defensively worst third basemen in the league. Here's another thing to consider name the top-ten first basemen in the league. Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, and Joey Votto are the top five. Then you have Eric Hosmer, Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Paul Konerko, and Kendrys Morales. From there it starts to get a little tougher to weigh but you could argue that James Loney is number 11, but right there with Gaby Sanchez, Freddie Freeman, and Carlos Pena. The other thing to consider is most of those guys make at least three times the money that James Loney makes.

So while at times I wanna get out my torch and pitchfork, sometimes you just have to keep things in perspective. Is this just a slow start? Is this the real James Loney? How can you be so inconsistent after this many years in the league? Is that Loney from last September still inside just burning to break out? I don't know. But will the real James Loney please stand up? Seven years folks, not two, not three, seven. Frustrating isn't it? He is essentially the exact same player he was six years ago. But hey this guy isn't even my biggest concern, that's right. Juan Uribe I am talking about you. Don't even get me started. I still can't bring myself to type up an entire article on this guy, because every time I do, I get half-way through and have to hit CTRL-A, then press delete. I don't think it is socially acceptable to post those types of things on the internet. Sheesh! Watch my head-esssplode!
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