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Esteban Loaiza

This is pretty much the opposite of what I wanted to happen:

The A's are close to signing free agent right-hander Esteban Loiaza to a three-year contract for slightly more than $21 million, has learned.

To me, Loaiza looked like the best "bargain" candidate of the bigger-name free agent starters entering the offseason, so I don't like the idea of him inking with a division rival so early. If this deal goes down, then Bavasi's only going to have more work to do.

Update: the $47m/5yr BJ-Ryan-to-Toronto deal is also official now, which just goes to show that the best way to spend money when you're boosting payroll by $30m is "quickly." Ryan's a damn fine pitcher, a reliever who led his team in strikeouts a year ago, but I don't know how you guarantee so much money and so many years to a 30 year old reliever, particularly one whose top PECOTA comp is Jeff Nelson.

Update #2: Loaiza's contract is official - three years with a fourth year option. $3m signing bonus, $5m in 2006, $6m in 2007, and $7m in 2008. $7.5m 2009 option, with a $375k buyout.