James Loney: What New First Baseman's Arrival Means for Boston Red Sox

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James Loney: What New First Baseman's Arrival Means for Boston Red Sox
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
James Loney has some big shoes to fill being the new Red Sox first baseman.

James Loney has been in his new habitat for less than a week, and he has come through in his first series as a Red Sox player. 

During Sunday's game against the Kansas City Royals, Loney drove in the tying run in the fifth inning.

His manager noticed how important that hit was. 

"Big at-bat," Bobby Valentine said, via The Boston Globe.

That's the type of player that Loney will be for the Red Sox for the rest of the season. Loney will not be the type of player that the team will need to rely on to keep their ship afloat, but he won't be dead weight. 

Along with that, all the weight falls on Loney's shoulders. The Red Sox have little investment to put in Loney at the moment, but if he puts the bat to work, he might stay with the Sox after this year.

At the moment, Loney is hitting .254 with four home runs and 39 RBI. Loney already has one batted in in five at-bats with the Red Sox.

The change of scenery might be just what Loney needs to turn his season (and career, for that matter) around and give him a permanent home by the end of 2012.

Loney has hit all four of his home runs away from Dodger Stadium, and his last four runs driven in were also on the road against Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

However, he's not going to bring a whole lot to the table, only what he can at times. Loney will come through when it's not expected, and when he's needed, he might falter. For example, in his first plate appearance on Sunday, Loney grounded into a double play.  

He's no Adrian Gonzalez. He doesn't play as good defense as Gonzalez does nor does he put up the numbers at the plate. 

At the end of the day, Loney is a rental for the Red Sox. The season has been a shambled one for them, and putting an average first baseman will get the job done for them.

What else do they have to lose by putting Loney at first? Red Sox fans, don't answer that.

Mauro Gomez, who has played only 13 MLB games, backs up Loney. That gives Loney some comfort even though his career is at a breaking point. Some players do better in the situation that Loney is in. Perhaps Loney will take advantage of that.

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