Nationals Baseball: Es-te-ban, never say that in France

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Es-te-ban, never say that in France

The Nats sign Esteban Loaiza. 1 yr, 2.9 really big ones. What can we glean from this? What can we glean!?

I see two long-term scenarios with this deal.
1) It's straight up how it seems. Loaiza was signed to pitch. Chances are Bowden will look smart if this is the case (yes, that's what I said) because chances are a number of our starters will get hurt. Ohka and Armas are china dolls, Livan has sold his soul to the company store, and Day has a baby's arm. I don't think it's a good idea to bet on an injury to a starter, or to fill your roster with mediocre pitchers, but I'm not Bowden.

2) Bowden signed Loaiza because there is interest in Armas/Ohka and he wants to trade. I favor this one because it fits with Bowden's personality. However, the goals were shore up the left side of the infield, get a starter, and get bullpen help. Bowden has done all that (has he done it well is a question I won't answer here). Would he really trade to fill a need we don't have? Probably.

Taking it at face value. It's rather safe to say that Loaiza starts in the rotation. We're looking at Hernandez (Signed through 2006 : 8 mill in 2005) , Ohka(1yr:2.75mill) / Armas (1yr: 2.26 mill) / Loaiza, probably Zach Day (minor league contract). Patterson, I believe has an outside chance at starting the year in the rotation, given either a total Spring Training breakdown from Day or slow recoveries by Ohka and/or Armas. Rauch is stuck again at long reliever.

The Best Case Scenario (tm) I see is that Loaiza pitches well, and we trade him away for minor league prospects at the deadline. The Worst Case Scenario is Loaiza loses his spot in the rotation without much of a fight. I'm going to hedge my bets and say I favor the former, simply because the move to the National League with new batters and the pitchers slot may help his confidence enough to give him a better year (though not like his career one)

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