As teams pursue waiver wire deals, the Chronicle is reporting that the Dodgers are seriously interested in acquiring Esteban Loaiza. This is the time to pull the trigger. I was very ambivalent about trading Blanton, who is young, cheap, and whose ceiling is still unknown, but I still found myself rooting for a July 31st deal because the Dodgers’ farm system is so rich and because the A’s were stagnating so badly. The Dodgers wouldn’t give Beane what he asked for, and I trust that Billy was wise not to accept what LA was offering. Blanton is a valuable commodity and should only be dealt on your terms, not on a compromise.
Loaiza presents no such dilemma for me. I never thought much of him to begin with and at age 35 he is a known commodity: A guy who can pitch great, but never actually does for more than stretches at a time. He is a solid middle of the rotation pitcher, and those are valuable, but I believe the A’s have found a suitable replacement in Chad Gaudin who, like Blanton, is younger, cheaper, and has far more upside. If Loaiza can bring Oakland the young talent they so desperately need, the A’s need to pull the trigger this time.
I don’t know if Beane can use Loaiza in a deal to finally land Andy LaRoche, who continues to languish in the Dodgers’ farm system, or the intriguing Chin-Lung Hu—who has managed to compile only 6 BBs and 16 Ks in 177 AAA at-bats, while batting .328 and slugging .531.
In contrast to Blanton, whose July slump scared away the Dodgers, Loaiza’s audition has gone well with two effective starts against a tough Blue Jays lineup. But topping out at 90 MPH, Loaiza can be good, not great, and no matter what his fastball looks like he is Esteban Loaiza: Career journeyman, a guy who pitches so well somebody wants him and who pitches so badly somebody wants to get rid of him. He might genuinely help the Dodgers over the season’s last four weeks. The Dodgers’ prospects could help the A’s for years. Get it done, Billy—this time, you’re definitely trading the right guy.