So, according to John Shea at the San Francisco Gate (via MLBtraderumors.com), the Dodgers might have “genuine interest” in Esteban Loaiza. And guess what? The title of this post aside – my lame attempt at looking up what other pitchers were good in 2003 and aren’t anywhere near the same now, since we’ve already collected Schmidt and Wells – I might not actually be against this. Surprising, I know, since I’m usually incredibly against the “Colletti collecting old, broken-down, expensive veterans” idea.
Let’s break this down. First of all, there’s really not all that much to go on here: Shea literally only says that “the Dodgers have genuine interest in Loaiza, according to a National League source.” Nowhere else is LA mentioned. So this isn’t exactly the Zapruder film of trade rumors. But it’s fun to conjecture anyway.
Loaiza’s 36 on New Year’s Eve, and he’s due for $8 million next year in the final year of his deal. Which, let’s face it – is not unreasonable for even a league-average pitcher anymore. I don’t think there’s any question the Blue could use another starter for the stretch run this year - while Wells looked good in his debut, he’s hardly a sure thing, and Stults is still unproven. As for next year, well it might seem like the rotation depth will be a strength, with Schmidt returning and prospects like James McDonald and Justin Orenduff nearly ready.. but don’t forget the heady days of March, 2007, when we all wondered what we could get in trade for Hendrickson and Tomko because the rotation was “incredibly deep.” And then they ended up being 40% of the rotation for a good part of the year, which in itself was probably enough to embolden the terrorists.
Of course, the possibility of picking up Loaiza only matters if he’s any good. Looking up his stats, I was surprised at how effective he’s actually been over the years (his monster, insane, inexplicable, 21-9, 2.90 ERA, 2nd in the Cy Young 2003 season aside). Over his career, he’s been almost exactly league-average: 99 ERA+. After being Tomko-esque in 2004 (5.70 ERA between the White Sox and Yankees), he put up two relatively decent seasons in ’05 and ’06: 12 wins and a 3.77 ERA for an awful 2005 Nationals squad, and 11 wins with a 4.89 ERA for Oakland last year. Of course, his best statistic last year was clearly 120; miles per hour while drunk, that is.
This year, he’s been out with a torn meniscus in his knee which required surgery. But in his two starts since returning, he’s been really good: 3 hits and 1 ER over 7 2/3 IP on 8/22, and 2 ER over 7 IP on 8/27 – each against Toronto. Can a guy like that help the back end of the Dodger rotation? I think so, especially considering a switch back to the NL is never bad for a pitcher. Plus, he’d be good depth for next year in case Schmidt isn’t all the way back; or Wolf isn’t resigned; or no other outside help is coming, which is likely considering how insane the price for pitching will be.
It depends, of course, on what it’d take to get him. Personally, I’d rather just eat more money and give a lesser prospect. None of the names that came up in the Blanton talks should even be considered here.
Oh, hey – I just heard Mike Mussina’s losing his spot in the Yankees’ rotation due to gross ineffectiveness. He was 17-8 in 2003… smells like Dodger material to me.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness