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.