Sometimes luck plays a part in things ... sometimes a very big part.
On this date, Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams signed free agent pitcher Esteban Loaiza to a $500,000 contract, a massive discount from the six-plus million he’d made in 2002 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Loaiza was expected to round out the back end of the rotation — but he did much more than that. By season’s end he had won 21 games, started the All-Star Game in front of his hometown White Sox fans, and led the American League in strikeouts. He could have won the Cy Young Award, but a pair of 1-0 losses to Detroit appeared to be the difference in doing so. He ended up second in the voting.
Even better, with Loaiza’s contract jumping to $4 million in 2004, Williams flipped the starter at close to maximum value (the righthander was also a 2004 All-Star). Loaiza was swapped to the Yankees at midseason, for pitcher José Contreras … another deal that worked out as a huge White Sox advantage!