More on LoaizaIt seemed that my fellow bloggers were generally hopeful yesterday that the Loaiza situation was a rumor created by his agent, and that Bowden would be a little bit smarter than that. For example, from Ball Wonk:
Or so Barry Svrluga says. What he doesn't say, at least not out loud, is that neither Bowda nor Trader Jim confirms Svrluga's account of things.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the MLB article asserts that we're in the picture:
Jim Bowden said Loaiza is a pitcher who could "eat innings" [...] According to Bowden, the Nationals don't feel Loaiza's price should be in the same range as that of Perez or Jaret Wright [...] "If Loaiza doesn't knock his price down, we cannot compete".
If that isn't enough proof, this morning's Post confirms it:
Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden spoke twice yesterday with the agent for free agent pitcher Esteban Loaiza, and the team could know whether it will land the pitcher within the next few days.
"I think it's something we'll find out soon," Bowden said.
If Bowden was willing to pay Shawn Estes about $7M for two years, I suspect that he's willing to pay the same for Loaiza, even though he seems to be looking for that on a per-year basis. I assume Loaiza isn't going to get the same kind of crazy deal that Derek Lowe got (i.e., far, far more money than he's worth), and Bowden does seem to be willing to overpay on the wrong people, so I'd say we have a good chance of landing Loaiza (my guess is 1 yr/4M or 2 yrs/7M). I'll just keep my fingers crossed hoping that he ends up in the bullpen, and performs well there, although he's more likely to push out someone who is more deserving of a chance, such as John Rauch or Mike Hinkley.`
The Post reports that Bowden is also exploring trades for Colorado's Shawn Chacon and San Diego's Brian Lawrence. Lawrence is someone I'd consider a legitimate innings eater. He has been pretty consistent the past couple of years, posting a dERA of 4.58, 4.56 and 4.07 over the last three years, which is in the same range as any of our other starters, but with 200+ innings pitched in each of those years.
The guy has no upside... he isn't expected to improve very much, but he would add more of a known element to the rotation. He's got mediocre K/9 rates, but doesn't walk more than a couple of batters a game. His WHIPs over the past three years: 1.35, 1.21, 1.31.
Chacon would be a bad move. My suspicion is that Bowden selectively recognizes the Coors effect... he didn't give Coors enough credit with Castilla, but he's going to give it too much credit with Chacon. When you look at his dERA (park adjusted, league adjusted, defense adjusted), he doesn't look so good (6.20, 4.02 and 5.47 over the last three years). WHIPs: 1.83, 1.30, 1.50.
By the way, Brian Schneider and Brad Wilkerson are going to be making their first public appearance with fans... at Space Coast stadium. In other news, it sounds like the Nats will be on WTEM, and the exhibition game on April 3rd will likely be with the Mets (yawn, let's get a team in that we're not going to see over and over again throughout the year).