Tag:Vicente Padilla
Posted on: November 30, 2010 2:56 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 12:07 pm

Dodgers' early moves eye-opening

Come on now, the week's most intriguing issue isn't what the scales said when new Dodger Juan Uribe stepped on them during his physical examination Tuesday.

It's what the scale says when the Dodgers plop their 2011 payroll on top of it.

Maybe Uribe's new three-year, $21 million deal in Los Angeles will be looking a little ragged in 2013. Who knows, it might not look so great by the end of 2011. He's 31, seems like 36, and do you really think he can pop 24 homers in a summer again as he did in 2010?

But while the addition of Uribe provides plenty of cordwood for Hot Stove League debate, the fact that the Dodgers now have signed four significant free agents and we're not even to the Winter Meetings yet is the strongest signal yet that perhaps the worst of the Great McCourt Divorce Trial is starting to move through.

In handing left-hander Ted Lilly $33 million, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda $12 million, right-hander Jon Garland $5 million and now Uribe $21 million, the Dodgers have shelled out some $71 million during the offseason's first month.

You can argue that there is nary an impact player like a Cliff Lee or a Carl Crawford among them.

But neither, now, is there a Charlie Haeger in the projected mix for 2011.

The Dodgers are back in the game. Nobody's predicting a division title here but, already, the rotation is improved over that wing and a prayer they trotted out in 2010. Vicente Padilla as opening day starter was the organization's most embarrassing moment since the 1986 club filmed The Baseball Boogie music video.

In Garland and Lilly, general manager Ned Colletti is taking a smart, calculated gamble with veterans who are reliable and will handle a heavy innings-pitched workload. No, they don't completely close the gap with the world champion Giants of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. But more threadbare clubs like the Padres shouldn't run circles around them again.

Meanwhile, Uribe at second base at least has a better chance for a happy ending than Uribe at shortstop. No, that pear-shaped body isn't prototypical for a middle infield position. But a couple of things about Uribe:

-- He's a winner. He played pivotal roles on two World Series champion teams, the '05 White Sox and last year's Giants. When the stakes are high, he's come up big. He had nine RBIs in 14 post-season games last month.

-- He's beloved in the clubhouse. The Giants thought the world of him. On a Dodgers club that had clubhouse issues before Colletti arrived (Milton Bradley) and with a roster of younger players that still don't all get it (Matt Kemp), Uribe will add more than, say Manny Ramirez (no matter how the Dodgers spun his influence in the early days).

Again, this isn't to make Uribe out to be more than he is, which also is a man who batted .248 last season, owns a career on-base percentage of .300 and rarely works the count.

Truth be told, given where the Giants are and where the Dodgers are, this move is excellent for San Francisco, too. The Giants, who already specialize in ancient middle infielders (Omar Vizquel, Edgar Renteria), were smart not to over-extend with Uribe.

But for a Dodgers team that many figured would be drowning in the McCourt divorce saga for the next several years, the four moves so far at least represent hope that the clouds will part sooner rather than later.

And those don't even count what could be Colletti's best stroke of the winter, bringing back Dodgers legend Davey Lopes to coach first base. Lopes, a free agent after a dispute with the Phillies over his value, is the sharpest baserunning coach in the game.

That, and the possibility that maybe he can reach the still-maturing Kemp, make this way more than your average coach hire.

The Dodgers still have plenty to do and will be in the market for a catcher if they non-tender Russell Martin on Thursday (and the catching market is weaker than month-old iced tea).

But at the very least, a fourth-place club that finished 80-82 in 2010 has sprung out of the blocks quickly toward 2011. It's a start.

Posted on: April 5, 2010 2:07 pm

Vicente Padilla as opening day starter? Uh-huh

This is why the groans in Los Angeles:

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the first in Pittsurgh. Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, rocking and rolling just like last year.

Bottom of the first, Padilla gives it right back. He left a belt-high fastball over the plate to the always dangerous Garrett Jones, who promptly deposited it into the Allegheny River for a two-run, game-tying homer.

Padilla knew it immediately, jerking his head down in disgust and making a waving, snapping motion with his arm.

See, the difference between an ace and others is that an ace specializes in slamming the door in innings after his team scores to give him a lead. Granted, it doesn't always happen that way. But it does more often than not.

Maybe Padilla winds up slamming the door more often than not as 2010 rolls along.

But he didn't in the first inning on opening day, and first impressions are, that's only going to reinforce the questions surrounding the Dodgers' sketchy rotation.
Posted on: March 25, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2010 4:43 pm

Padilla as LA opening day starter speaks volumes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- That the Dodgers will hand the ball to veteran Vicente Padilla for the start on opening day doesn't quite inspire drumrolls, Angels blaring trumpets or red carpets.

As Dodgers manager Joe Torre was saying here in the desert Thursday morning, somebody has to start in Pittsburgh on April 5.

Think I'm being sarcastic here? I'm not.

"We just had to pick someone, and he's the one," Torre said. "Am I saying he's better than the other guys? I can't do that. We decided to line them up that way.

"The fact is, we don't have a No. 1. We have four guys who have pitched important games for us."

That pretty much says it all. The Dodgers are waiting for Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw to step up. Each has No. 1 stuff. But both are still maturing and growing. Padilla will be followed in the rotation by Kershaw, then Billingsley, and then Hiroki Kuroda.

The Dodgers' fifth starter remains unnamed. Veteran Russ Ortiz has moved into position to win that job over the final 10 days or so of the spring. Journeyman Ramon Ortiz also is vying for the slot, as are knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, former Blue Jay Josh Towers, Justin Miller and Eric Sults.

As for Padilla, the Dodgers signed him as a minor-league free agent last August after the Rangers essentially booted him off the team. He went 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA over eight games (seven starts) for the Dodgers down the stretch.

While he threw seven shutout innings against St. Louis in the playoffs last October, he was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two NLCS starts against the Phillies.

Torre said that Padilla's playoff work factored into the decision some, but, basically, "we have four guys and you can put their name in a hat."

Sunblock Day? Rocking now in Arizona: High 70s, 80s this weekend.

Likes: Phil Hughes as the Yankees fifth starter. Vicente Padilla as the Dodgers opening day starter. Love the time in the spring when we're close enough to Opening Day that decisions start rolling in. ... Doug Mientkiewicz's grit. The veteran is in Dodgers' camp trying to win a job. His shoulder is much better following last year's surgery. Don't know if he's going to make it in LA, but maybe somewhere. ... Dodger legend Don Newcombe addressing the team before Thursday's practice. ... The bunting contest the Giants had scheduled for Thursday morning, a handful of pitchers vs. a handful of position players. ... Tina Fey on David Letterman Wednesday night. Date Night looks like it's got possibilities. ... Four more days of NCAA tourney action. Go Butler, go Michigan State and go Cornell.

Dislikes: Glad to see baseball remove the silly off day from the middle of the League Championship Series, which probably will force teams to use four starters throughout (as opposed to the way the Yankees were able to take advantage of off days and breeze through the entire postseason with just three starting pitchers last fall). But there's still too much time between the LCS and World Series, and this does nothing to move the World Series up and prevent it from being played in November. A very inauspicious start by Commissioner Bud Selig's special committee for on-field matters. ... Dwight Gooden's ongoing saga. Driving under the influence of drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, and all with a child in the car. That's pathetic. ... The fact that in this blog the other day I referred to the movie Ghost Writer as Ghost Rider. I know it's Ghost Writer. As in, someone who writes a book for someone else in that someone else's voice. Ugh. Obviously I need more spring training. Still not quite in mid-season form.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I still love Tom Petty songs
"And driving old men crazy"

-- Gaslight Anthem, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues


Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:16 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2009 3:24 pm

Dodgers close to signing Vicente Padilla

The Dodgers, watching their once sizable NL West lead slowly melt, are on the verge of signing free agent right-hander Vicente Padilla, according to CBSSports.com sources.

Padilla, who was released by Texas earlier this season, would help fill a rotation that was weakened when Hiroki Kuroda took a line drive off of his head Saturday. Kuroda is expected to miss his next start and probably land on the disabled list.

The move not only would add depth to the Dodgers' rotation, it also would do so in a relatively inexpensive way. The Dodgers would owe Padilla only a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum -- roughly $100,000 -- with the Rangers paying the rest of Padilla's $12 million 2009 salary.

Padilla was 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA over 18 starts for the Rangers this season. But the Rangers released him anyway, partly because he was not well liked in the Texas clubhouse given his penchant for throwing at batters, which in turn caused Rangers hitters to become targets for retaliation at times.

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