WASHINGTON — Former MLB pitcher and one-time Washington National Esteban Loaiza is in a San Diego detention center after being arrested last Friday with 44 lbs. of cocaine. He is being charged with felony possession and transporting with an intent to sell.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department valued the narcotics at more than $500,000.
This is bizarre news for a player who retired a decade ago and is reported to have had only a DUI on his record from 2006. His arrest at that time (following a game), led to a movement across the league where teams stopped serving beer in clubhouses after the game. Every team in MLB had the practice in both home and visiting clubhouses, but the A’s were the first team to stop the practice.
One year prior, Loaiza was the second-best starting pitching on a mediocre 2005 Nationals team (12-10, 3.77 ERA, 217 innings), in his only season in Washington. Coming off of an injury-plagued season with the Yankees and White Sox, Loaiza rebuilt his stock in D.C. and split for Oakland and greener pastures after the season.
Thirteen years later, he seems to be hitting rock bottom.
Loaiza’s former agent, John Boggs, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was unaware of the drug arrest and hadn’t spoken to him recently. Loaiza reportedly called Boggs’ office last week but was unable to get in contact with him.
“I am shocked and saddened by the news and had no indication he would ever be in this type of situation,” Boggs told the Chronicle. “I don’t know how he would get himself involved in this, so it’s difficult to even comment on it.”
According to the sheriff’s report, a search of his vehicle during a minor traffic stop revealed a “sophisticated aftermarket compartment used to conceal contraband.” He was already on the police radar for driving a vehicle suspected of being used for drug smuggling.
A warrant was then produced to search his house, where the drugs were found.
Loaiza is originally from Tijuana, Mexico, and is the second winningest MLB pitcher ever from his country.