Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Morrison, replacing Loney at first, wants some love for his glove

The man the Rays brought in to be the primary replacement for James Loney wants you to know his glove also deserves some love.

Logan Morrison comes to the Rays with a reputation for being a clubhouse raconteur, the guy who willingly embraces the role of keeping the other players loose. He stands out with a barrel-chested physique and bulging biceps more fitting for a football locker room. He swings a bat capable of adding some much-needed left-handed power but also consistency to their reconstructed lineup.

But with the Rays cutting ties this week with Loney so Morrison can get most, though not all, of the playing time at first, his defense will be most scrutinized.

And he is ready to show you what he has got.

"I want to be a complete player," Morrison said. "I want to be known as a good first baseman. Best in the league. I had the highest fielding percentage for a long time last year. So I want to definitely do that."

Morrison, 28, came up a first baseman in the Marlins system, but he was moved to the outfield when he first got to the big leagues to get his bat in the lineup. A trade to Seattle allowed him to move back to first in 2014, and he is happy to stay there.

"That was an adjustment for me trying to learn a new position on the fly in the big leagues," he said. "Being at first base is way more comfortable for me. Not only the ground-ball aspect of it and being in the right spots, but the sign of a good first baseman is how many Gold Gloves his fielders get, picking them up, saving them errors, things like that. So I take a lot of pride in that."

Morrison is not going to be as smooth as Loney, whom the Rays will either trade or release (and eat his whole $8 million salary) by Sunday's noon roster deadline. But he can be good enough, noting that .996 fielding percentage last year (four errors in 1,130 chances) and calling himself Allstate — "because the infielders are in good hands."

That's the shared view of Brad Miller, who spent the past two years throwing to Morrison while playing shortstop in Seattle and will do the same this year for the Rays, having been acquired in the same November trade, along with reliever Danny Farquhar.

"LoMo is a really good defensive first baseman," Miller said. "We had Justin Smoak before who was very smooth, Loney style. But LoMo can pick it. And he takes a lot of pride in it."

Miller's scouting report:

"He's really athletic. … You'll see on fly balls in that no-man's land behind him, he goes and gets it. … He has a lot of range for sure. … He's big, but he's really tuned up. … He can run. … He's got great hands. … He's got a really good arm. … I'm seen him do a lot of things."

There is more to the LoMo show than just snaring throws and lacing line drives.

Morrison loves to stir the clubhouse, being loud, funny, needling, raunchy, and a whole bunch of other adjectives. No one is absolved, no subject sacred.

"I guess you could say he's … open," Farquhar said. "He says what's on his mind. He likes attention. However you want to put it, he likes attention."

At the least, Morrison is entertaining, if not bordering on annoying. "LoMo being LoMo," Farquhar said, with several other Rays nodding in agreement.

But Miller said there can be a benefit.

"He brings a lot of energy to the clubhouse, and he brings it every day," Miller said. "And whatever he does, he does it at 100 percent. He gets after it."

Morrison is happy to do whatever he can to help. Making a great catch. Delivering a key hit. Cracking up the clubhouse with a running commentary on the rookie karaoke show. Or by ordering minor-leaguer Taylor Motter to fetch 18 drinks from Starbucks one morning and serve them on a silver platter standing at the clubhouse door wearing a bow tie and, well, let's just say less than full uniform.

"You've got to have fun," Morrison said. "This game's really hard, so being able to create an environment where getting on guys, guys getting on me, whatever it is, take it and dish it out, makes the grind of the season go by a little easier."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow @ TBTimes_Rays.

Rays' Morrison, replacing Loney at first, wants some love for his glove 04/01/16 [Last modified: Saturday, April 2, 2016 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  3. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'

    Blogs

    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.