No one saw this coming.
Not James Loney. Not the Mets fans. Not the experts. Not Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.
Loney has been productive since the Mets acquired him from the Padres at the end of May. In so many ways, he has been a revelation.
Remember the former Dodger was released by the Rays this spring training. He was coming off two awful seasons for the Rays. He was toiling in the Padres minor league farm system. It was easy to wonder if he was washed up.
The Mets only acquired him just to spell Lucas Duda, who is on the disabled list due to a stress fracture in his lower back. They just hope he would play decent first base. They clearly had no expectations.
Fans were indifferent about the acquisition, but now they wouldn’t mind him being the everyday first baseman if he keeps playing like he has. That’s how disgruntled they are with Duda’s inconsistent offense.
For Loney, he is just happy to be playing. He is thankful that he still has something left in the game.
Last night was his finest hour as a Met. He had three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs in the Mets’ 10-2 romp over the Cubs at Citi Field.
Overall, he is hitting .297 with .345 on-base percentage, .495 slugging percentage and an .840 OPS. He also has 4 home runs and 13 RBI. Not bad for a player that everyone viewed as finished.
This has been a new lease on life for Loney. He experienced failure in recent years. He is thankful that his hard work has paid off where he still has it. It’s a testament to his perseverance.
Loney’s success showed baseball is rewarding if a player puts his time into the game. That’s why the current Mets first baseman is enjoying his run and not taking his success for granted. He knows he can fail at any time.
When Loney homered in the second inning, he knew it was going to be gone when he hit it. It was a sweet swing that he teed off Cubs starter Jason Hammel. It was a matter of the ball falling in fair territory, and it did.
Citi Field erupted when the ball went fair.
Loney’s two-run RBI double, scoring Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes, made it a 4-0 Mets lead in the fourth inning.
Loney singled in the fifth inning to wrap up a great night. He was a triple short of a cycle.
How long his run will last? Who knows? Loney is certainly not going to think about it. He is going to come out and give everything he got every game he plays.
Loney hasn’t talked about whether he can be an everyday player. It’s tempting to think that way if he keeps it up once Duda is activated from the disabled list.
He knows he is not in a position to think about it. Not after the way he has played in two years. He should be enjoying his good fortune. It beats being in the minors.
It will be interesting if Loney can keep this up. His success is a sample size at this point.
The Mets will have to make a decision on him once Duda comes back. With the way he is playing, there’s no rush for Duda to come back from the disabled list.
The Mets have that luxury to give him a long look before they make that decision.
One thing going for Loney is he is respected in the clubhouse. His teammates know what he has gone through, and they respect him for his professional approach to his job. That has served him well since being a Met.
Loney’s even-kneel approach has helped the Mets stay afloat so far in what has been a frustrating stretch.
It’s going to be intriguing what he does as the weeks go by.
No matter what happens, Loney can feel like he accomplished something in getting back to the majors.
No one thought he would be playing in a Major League game.
It took desperation from the Mets to give him a chance, and he has made the most of it.