I know that there are plenty of Tribe fans out there wondering what Kenny Lofton is up to this season. I mean, how can’t you wonder when you see Jason Michaels gallivanting about left field day in and day out. Of course, nostalgic fans were appeased last season when the team brought Lofton back for the home stretch – and you can’t deny that the veteran played well in the post-season. It was a feel-good story that also helped the team out.
But where is he now? Apparently at home. At least per Anthony Castrovince at MLB.com, who deals with a Lofton question in today’s mailbag.
Why hasn’t anyone signed Kenny Lofton yet? I know the Indians have little interest in him, but surely there are other teams that would want a guy that hit .296 last year and can still run pretty well.
– Vince C., Willoughby Hills, Ohio
I’m still getting five or six e-mails a week about Lofton, and that’s five or six too many, as far as I’m concerned.
The bottom line on the guy is that he turns 41 in May, still wants to be an everyday player in center field and the leadoff spot and still wants to be paid handsomely for his services. The Reds and Rays were among the teams who showed moderate interest in him during Spring Training. I know the Rays offered him a deal in the neighborhood of $1 million, and Lofton, who made $6 million last year, was offended by it. So he’s out of a job right now and will remain that way until a team gets desperate or he becomes willing to take an ego hit.
The fact that the Rays are pretty set in the outfield with Carl Crawford manning left field for the foreseeable future, but with Delmon Young moving to Minnesota Lofton would have likely gotten at least the occasional spot start. But for the 41-year old to be demanding more than $1 million per season seems a bit ludicrous at this point. His speed isn’t what it used to be, and he’s not the poster boy for arm strength. Veteran leadership, yes. But since when is that worth a multi-million deal? (Enter Isiah Thomas joke here)
There is little doubt in the fact that Lofton has done a ton for this town, but its getting to the point where we all need to realize that his day has passed. Yes, it’d be nice to see a portion of the late-90s return in true form, but for that to take away from the ability to bring other, younger talent to town is simply not going to happen. Thanks, but no thanks.Print This