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August 10, 2004

Too Little, Too Late
by Larry Mahnken

I'll say this about Jose Contreras -- at least he won games.

To see Estaban Loaiza pitch these first two games as a Yankee, it's a wonder he ever won 10 games, let alone 21. He just doesn't look very good at all. Unlike some of my fellow fans, I'm willing to give him a little more time, but not too much time. More an more, it looks like he's just going to be along for the ride, and he probably won't throw a single pitch in the playoffs. His value will be in opening a roster spot and cash for a more high-profile free agent pitcher.

I don't view the Contreras/Loaiza deal as I did the Boone trade, but an argument could be made that those trades are very similar. In retrospect, Claussen may not have been much of a prospect, but Boone wasn't much of an improvement over Ventura (I would argue that he was worse), and in this current trade, Contreras may not be better than Loaiza, but there seems to be more room for improvement. Now, I don't necessarily agree with that, but I know one guy who does, so for his benefit, I'm going to start tracking the performances of Loaiza and Contreras. A name for this tracker will, of course, be appreciated.

As for the actual game, Loaiza didn't pitch very well at all, but if the Yankees had been able to get more than 5 hits off of Josh Towers, they still could have won. Bernie hit another home run, a long shot to right to make it 5-2, and Matsui, finally an excellent hitter, hit another two-run shot in the ninth to make it 5-4, but after Posada walked, they couldn't tie the game.

Well, Boston lost, and they're still a million games ahead, so big deal. They've come back again and again this year, so falling short this time really ain't that bad.