Dodgers Acquire Loaiza, Waste $8 Million

August 29, 2007 – 6:29 pm by Ryan Phillips

The Los Angels Dodgers claimed perennial fantasy disappointment Esteban Loaiza off waivers from the Oakland A’s today, to bolster their ailing starting rotation. I only say “bolster” because currently the team’s other options are Brett Tomko (2-11, 5.80 ERA) and Mark Hendrickson (4-7, 5.04 ERA). The 35-year-old Loaiza has only pitched two games this year after missing the first 4 1/2 months of the season with three different innings. He was effective in the two games he did pitch, allowing just three earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. That was good enough to give him a 1-0 record and a 1.84 ERA.

The problem with this addition for the Dodgers is that they have to assume more than $8 million in guaranteed salary. He is owed $1.17 million for the rest of the season and $6.5 million for 2008, with a $7.5 million club option for 2009 that has a $375,000 buyout. When you look at Loaiza’s track record, he’s not worth anywhere near that amount of guaranteed money. And aside from going 21-9 for the White Sox in 2003, Loaiza has never been any good. He carries a career 4.60 ERA and hitters have a .284 batting average against him lifetime.

When you factor in the other pitchers the Dodgers have wasted money on this season, you have to wonder who is running that team (for the record it’s Ned Colletti). The Azul are throwing away money like an Arab teenager. They gave three years and $47 million to Jason Schmidt, who is a shell of his former self and is currently out for the season. They also gave a one-year $8 million deal to Randy Wolf, who was coming off elbow surgery and who may not pitch again this season as he is struggling with shoulder issues. Before he landed on the DL on July 4th, Wolf was 9-6 with a 4.73 ERA and before going on the DL on June 17th, Schmidt was 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA. So that’s $23.6 million completely wasted this year and if Loaiza sucks (which, come on, is highly likely) the team could end up spending $31.6 million for nothing more than awful results.

Just to give you a little insight into how much that actually is, the San Diego Padres – who are currently 3 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers – are paying their entire pitching staff (including relievers) roughly $25 million. That number includes $10 million to Greg Maddux and $7 million to Trevor Hoffman.

So yeah, money well spent Dodgers. Keep it up, since other than the Yankees, there’s no team we love to hate more.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Dodgers Acquire Loaiza, Waste $8 Million”

  2. They don’t have any other options, so I think it was a fine move. Three of their five starters gave them a chance to win each time out, but the other two were automatic losses. Having Wells and now Loaiza means they should have a chance to win all five. And if you consider the fact that they have six more games remaining with both SD and Arizona, they can still make it into the playoffs.

    Plus, $7 million for only one year is not that bad these days. There is nothing good available on the ’08 free agent market since Buehrle and Zambrano signed extensions, and I’d rather only be on the hook for one year of Loaiza at 7, than be forced to signed a Matt Clement or Bartolo Colon type for a few years. As for payroll disparities, guarantee you won’t be laughing in three years when the Padres lose Peavy because they can’t afford him.

    By Larry Brown on Aug 30, 2007

  3. Larry I like you, I really do. So please, for my sanity don’t mention Peavy leaving in three years. Anytime that’s brought up I plug my ears and sing a song.

    As for the move, my greater point is that they’re spending WAY too much on the wrong guys.

    By Phillips on Aug 30, 2007

  4. Here’s what you’re missing: The Dodgers are one of the more popular teams in baseball, with a huge fan base and outstanding attendance. They can’t just settle for third place by trotting Tomko, Stults, or Hendrickson out to the mound every 4th and 5th days. If you settled with that, you’re showing a dedicated group of fans that you’re giving up. And if you have the opportunity to improve yourself while your competition (Arizona, SD) remains complacent, by snagging Wells on the cheap, and Loaiza even if it means assuming his contract for next year, you have to do it in order to prove to the fans, town, and team that you’re not waiving the white flag.

    Besides, $7 million is not that much for a guy like Loaiza if you consider the market the last two years. Would you prefer anyone else on the ’08 free agent list at the same amount? The reality is that your average starting pitcher in his free agent years goes for somewhere between $7-$11 million these days. You simply cannot make fun of every deal — every team overpays for a few players — if you don’t, you won’t be able to fill out a major league roster.

    By Larry Brown on Aug 31, 2007

  5. No no, I get it, I just don’t see how spending that much on Loaiza is a good business decision, especially when they essentially wasted all that money on Schmidt and Wolf. I mean I get that you’re trying to make a playoff push, but Loaiza is nothing more than an average major league pitcher and I don’t think he gives you a chance to win every time out like you suggest. You’re right, Hendrickson and Tomko suck, and if Loaiza was truly their only option, then fine. But it just doesn’t seem like the Dodgers brass is making smart decisions when it comes to the pitching staff.

    And calling the the D’Backs Padres are complacent is kind of misleading. The Padres have by far the best pitching staff ERA in the majors and have tried hard to improve their offense with moves that fit their budget. And Arizona wasn’t going to add too much because they don’t want to block any of their young talent from playing.

    By Phillips on Sep 3, 2007

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