Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nationals sign two-time all-star!

Okay, it's just Esteban Loiaza.

Anyway, the Washington Post is on the beat:

Loaiza, a free agent, agreed to terms last night on a
one-year, $2.9
million deal that includes incentives, a source with knowledge of the
negotiations said on the condition of anonymity because Loaiza still needed to
pass a physical before the deal was finalized. He was undergoing an MRI exam
last night, delaying an announcement. Barring an unforeseen snag, Loaiza will be
added to the Nationals' rotation today, where he will join righty Tomo Ohka, who
yesterday became the last Washington player to avoid arbitration by signing a
one-year, $2.75 million deal.

I will discuss the broader implications of the Loiaza signing later on, but let me say tentatively that I don't hate it.
  1. All of Loiaza's numbers went into the tank last year, including some pretty important ones (like K/9IP, K/BB, HR/9IP)---or perhaps they really didn't, since his 2004 season is pretty much his historical record. On the other hand, does one really "fluke" a 21-win season that features a 154 ERA+, as he posted in 2003?
  2. At any rate, at one year and less than $ 3 million, it's not a bad deal; it's less than Stevie Lo made last year, actually. If he splits his 2003-04 work, Bowden can probably pawn him off at the deadline for something useful. If he turns into something truly resembling his 2003, then he can create some excitement and then net a neat draft pick next year. I'd hesitate to characterize $2.9 million as "low risk," but there you go.
It's not a bad move, and it's not one of Bowden's worst so far.

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