Esteban Loaiza and how to blow $44 million

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 11: Esteban Loaiza of the Oakland Athletics pitches during Game Two of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers at McAfee Coliseum on October 11, 2006 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 11: Esteban Loaiza of the Oakland Athletics pitches during Game Two of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers at McAfee Coliseum on October 11, 2006 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Former Oakland A’s pitcher Esteban Loaiza blew $44 million after retirement, leading to his current residence in a prison in Washington State.

Roughly a decade after his playing career had come to an end, Esteban Loaiza was relatively forgotten. He had a decent career, making two All Star appearances and winning 126 games over his 14 years in the majors, but he had faded into anonymity.

Then, in February 2018, the well traveled pitcher was suddenly in the headlines. He was arrested on charges of felony drug possession with the intent to distribute after police found 44 pounds of cocaine in his townhouse. Loaiza pled guilty, receiving a three year sentence.

This was not his first brush with controversy. During his time with the A’s, he was arrested for DUI and speeding when he was driving his Ferrari over 120 MPH on an Oakland freeway. He had married pop star Jenni Rivera and was in the midst of a divorce when she passed in a plane crash which was rumored to be tied to a Mexican drug cartel. His first wife divorced him after he had an affair with Ivan Rodriguez‘s babysitter. And former Rangers teammate Juan Gonzalez had accused Loaiza of stealing a $3000 leather coat.

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According to an article in Bleacher-Report, Loaiza found himself pulled in many directions. His family drained his finances even though he was past his peak earning days. He had grown accustomed to the lifestyle that came with the majors and being married to a star, and was desperate to continue to live in that manner.

And that would prove to be his downfall. Financial records and other evidence argued that this was beyond a one time mistake as Loaiza’s lawyers argued, that he was a bigger part of the drug dealing organization than anyone wanted to admit. That plane crash years ago, and those previous whispers about the involvements of the cartels, became louder once again.

It was quite a stunning fall from grace for the former A’s pitcher, although perhaps one that could have been seen coming. Loaiza loved the bright lights and the fame, the lifestyle and his hero status in Mexico. He needed to keep appearances, to be that same person he had been in his prime. While drug trafficking may not have been expected, some people will go to any length to keep what they had.

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Esteban Loaiza was one of those people. And it resulted in his current sentence and the tarnishing of his star.