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Two weeks after being a gracious guest at SoxFest in Chicago, Esteban Loaiza faces felony drug charges on suspicion of possessing and transporting narcotics after police discovered more than 44 pounds of a powder in his rental house.
Jeff Passan shared the arrest record to get the ball rolling …
This is a new one: Esteban Loaiza, drug kingpin.
The second-winningest pitcher from Mexico in MLB history was arrested Friday with 20 kilos of heroin or cocaine, according to San Diego police records. He'll be in court Wednesday to face felony drug charges. Details are in pics. pic.twitter.com/312pf21Q4F
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 12, 2018
… and the San Diego Union-Tribune has the most substantial follow-up:
Loaiza was arrested by members of the sheriff’s border crime suppression team who were conducting surveillance in Imperial Beach as part of a narcotic investigation. He was pulled over for a minor traffic violation after he was spotted driving a 2010 Mercedes 450 believed to be involved in smuggling operations, said sheriff’s Lt. Jason Vickery.
When deputies searched the car, they noticed a “sophisticated after-market” hidden compartment in his vehicle believed used to conceal contraband. That provided enough probable cause for officers to seek a search warrant to look in his home, which he leased in early February.
This isn’t Loaiza’s first run-in with the law, as his 120-mph drunken driving escapades prompted the Oakland Athletics to remove alcohol from the Coliseum clubhouses. This one has resulted in felony charges, though, and the proximity to SoxFest is what makes it resonate. The people who have autographs and photos with him have a far more complex story to tell.
— Smart (@BiggSmott) February 12, 2018
* * *
Today’s the last day of the least fun MLB offseason since 1994-95, so let’s close it out in style.
- Rosenthal: Ideas on improving baseball’s competitiveness; potential pace-of-play compromise — The Athletic
Baseball’s ice-cold free agent market is partially the byproduct of a lopsided system that gives teams no incentive to get better unless they have big plans. But even when it comes to ideas I kinda like — J.J. Cooper’s tank tax is one — I wonder whether removing or reworking draft pick compensation from free agent signings would achieve the same purpose, since that’s a big detriment for teams like the White Sox and Giants getting involved.
In any event, the overall message behind Ken Rosenthal’s piece — “no one on either side would benefit from four more years of heightened tension” — seems naive. The owners don’t necessarily benefit from heightened tension, but they benefit from all the other spoils of an advantageous negotiation, which is the whole point in winning them.
Another advantage the owners have: invisibility. They’re taken as givens, while players are making the more detectable decisions. Meg Rowley wonders whether the players can turn the tides if enough rebuilding teams fail to get where they’re supposed to go.
With so many teams in the process of purposely not-winning, we must ask how well the strategy employed by the Astros and Cubs will continue to work. Sometimes you win a World Series, but sometimes you’re the mid-2000s Mariners, still bogged down despite a Dustin Ackley and a Jesus Montero and a Justin Smoak, never really closer until a Robinson Cano comes along. Not every team will be able to draft first overall. And if they don’t, where will they be except another year older? […]
If I were the players, I would talk about how all that tanking or not-winning doesn’t always work. How it makes for very bad, boring baseball. How it is pitted against our nights in the best time of the year. How it is indifferent to our Octobers.
The Giants didn’t use free agency as a trampoline back into contention, but they found veteran upgrades by trading for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. PECOTA projects them to win 84 games, mostly because they shouldn’t have been the 98-loss bad they were last season, but if acquiring proven players helps them noticeably, they’re a point against succumbing to gravity.
- Yu Darvish makes the Cubs a top-tier team again — FiveThirtyEight
- The Cubs spent $126 million on Yu Darvish, but they’re still a symptom of baseball’s offseason sickness — SB Nation
Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract with the Cubs, which is rather reasonable for a free-agent starter of his quality, although the lack of durability is a notable ding on his record.
The “sickness” is that the Cubs were allowed to let Darvish come to them in February, while other teams that could use him more didn’t pony up to even the historical level of spending. That makes Darvish a flashpoint of his own in this greater debate. If Darvish delivers for the Cubs while the Brewers and Twins are a starter short, the lack of aggressiveness will be put into starker relief. If Darvish can only throw 120 innings, the lack of FOMO will continue to bedevil individual players.
If the White Sox are going to beat their low-70s win projections, the teams that usually bedevil the computers usually do so with improbably strong relief work. Nate Jones’ arm doesn’t need more stress.
The man who served prison time for setting up a fake website for a performance-enhancing drug in hopes of providing Melky Cabrera an alibi is now suing the ACES agency he worked for. Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES have called the lawsuit a “shakedown,” and Craig Calcaterra said “it’s hard to escape the conclusion that [Juan Carlos] Nunez is looking to make a buck here now that he’s unable to work in baseball.”
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