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James Loney makes Mets debut tonight

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The veteran first baseman was acquired from the Padres for cash considerations over the weekend.

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

On Saturday, the Mets went out and got James Loney—an inexpensive veteran first baseman who has hit .342/.373/.424 Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas this season—to fill in while Lucas Duda is on the disabled list. Loney will make his debut as for the Mets tonight, as he starts against Mat Latos and the White Sox.

Though Duda hadn't played his best baseball early in the season, his absence is significant. The Mets have thus far given Eric Campbell significant playing time at the position. Combining him with Wilmer Flores and Ty Kelly wasn't exactly ideal, either.

As for Loney, the former top Dodgers prospect is coming off what is decidedly the worst season of his career. But he does have nearly ten years of major league experience and a career .285 batting average, and though he's less skilled now, he is generally seen as a solid defensive option at first. The Fielding Bible's defensive runs saved had him at -2 last year.

Loney's batted-ball skills have eroded to the point where he's not a viable long-term option for anyone, as his hard-hit average and line drive rate plummeted last season, but he can still hit singles and produce a slightly-below-average numbers compared to the average major league hitter. For what essentially amounts to a free player, it's not a bad move.

Though he's unlikely to match or exceed his 2013 line of .299/.348/.430 ever again, he's likely still better than the .679 OPS and 88 wRC+ he put up last season. For his career, he has a 104 wRC+, which the Mets would gladly take from a fill-in.

At this point, the Mets have multiple replacement-level players trying to fill real holes. All Loney has to do is be a bit better than that. For his career, Loney has hit .285/.338/.411 with 99 home runs, 635 RBIs, 498 runs scored, and 38 stolen bases, and has been worth 11.8 bWAR.