James Loney’s Contract With Rays Marks Largest Free-Agent Investment by Current Ownership Group

James LoneyThe Tampa Bay Rays typically don’t spend much money in free agency, so James Loney‘s contract is large by their standards.

The Rays officially announced Friday that they have signed Loney to a three-year, $21 million deal. It is the largest free-agent investment made by the Rays since Stuart Sternberg‘s ownership group took over in 2005.

News of an agreement between Loney and the Rays broke on Dec. 13, but the deal still needed to be finalized. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Loney will receive a $5 million signing bonus and salaries of $1 million (2014), $7 million (2015) and $8 million (2016).

A three-year, $21 million contract is peanuts for big-market teams, but it’s historic for the Rays. Tampa Bay clearly didn’t want to continue its first base carousel, especially with Loney having such a strong 2013 season.

Loney, who earned $2 million in 2013, hit .299 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs. The 29-year-old also was a Gold Glove finalist.

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