Dodgers, James Loney agree to $4.8M

The Los Angeles Dodgers resolved their last pending arbitration case on Friday, agreeing to terms with James Loney on a one-year, $4.875 million contract a week before the club was scheduled to go to a hearing with the first baseman.

Loney receives a raise of $1.775 million from his 2010 salary of $3.1 million. The sides settled $100,000 below the midpoint between the arbitration numbers filed by Loney ($5.25 million) and by the club ($4.7 million).

Loney is coming off his most disappointing season, one in which he suffered a second-half statistical freefall and wound up hitting a career-worst .267 with 10 home runs. However, he did shatter his previous career high with 41 doubles and also drove in 88 runs. He was hitting .309 at the All-Star break, but batted just .211 thereafter.

Loney has never hit more than 15 home runs in any of his five major league seasons, but neither the front office, former manager Joe Torre, nor incoming manager Don Mattingly have made any secret of their belief that Loney can and should hit for more power. The left-handed-hitting Loney has worked this winter with hitting coach Jeff Pentland on developing that power, particularly to right and right-center field.

This is the fourth consecutive winter that the Dodgers have agreed to terms with all of their arbitration-eligible players without going to a hearing with any of them. Loney, who was arbitration-eligible for the second time, had been scheduled for a hearing on Feb. 18.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.