A's get Derek Lowe-alike

By Jason Wojciechowski on November 28, 2005 at 11:34 PM

The A's signed Esteban Loaiza to a three-year deal today. I've got a much worse feeling about this signing than I did about Arthur Rhodes, and considering how Rhodes panned out, I don't know if that's good news.

Loaiza will turn 34 at the end of the year (really: his birthday is 12/31), so the A's are on the hook for his age-34, -35, and -36 seasons, plus a buyout (you know they're not picking up that club option) for his age-37 season.

Loaiza spent last year with Washington, and had a respectable season: 3.77 ERA, about 7 K/9, and about 3 K/BB. Problem is, last year was the second-best year of his career, trailing only his 2003 season with the White Sox. '03 and '05 were his only seasons with an ERA under four, a K/9 better than seven, and a K/BB better than three.

The other big problem? You shouldn't forget that Washington played as a nice pitcher's park last year. BP's translated numbers give Loaiza a 4.15 ERA. For all of Barry Zito's struggles the last two years, his translated ERA in '05 (in the worst year of his career) was 4.19.

Is there really any reason to prefer Loaiza over Kirk Saarloos?

This really looks for all the world like Paul DePodesta's signing of Derek Lowe, right down to the price: $7M per year is a lot of money for the A's to spend on a mediocrity like Loaiza.