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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dodgers Sign Padilla, So Can I Use The "Stupid Ideas" Tag For This One?

ESPN (via Jon) reports the Dodgers have indeed signed Vicente Padilla, recently released by the Rangers. He's not great, but unlike a lot of Ned Colletti's gambles, this has a low cost; no young players are involved, the Dodgers ostensibly have a replacement in the wings (or on the DL, in Kuroda). For what it's worth, 50% of his starts are quality starts, and that was in the AL for the most part; it's the highest percentage he's had since 2006. The Dodgers could do worse. The main bad thing about it is that Eric Stults, once again, is odd man out when he really should be on the 25-man. Jon:
Whatever your thoughts about Eric Stults are, Padilla isn't much better and might be worse. But in the event that Hiroki Kuroda is out for a long time, Scott Elbert proves himself unready, Charlie Haeger turns into a pumpkin, Jeff Weaver remains better suited for bullpen duty, James McDonald is de facto nolo contendre and Stults remains on Joe Torre's shortest leash, sure, the extra body might not hurt. And the sub-$100,000 price is, well, not exactly wrong. If Padilla is this year's Esteban Loaiza, at least he comes at about 1% of the cost.
Update: Eric Stephen at True Blue LA notes it's a minor league deal, and also goes into some particulars about Padilla's poor relations with his teammates. There apparently were fist-bumps in the clubhouse when his release was announced, one of those "great trade, who'd we get?" moments.

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I've read in many places that Padilla was not a favorite in the Texas clubhouse. He probably sealed his fate when he laughed as a teammate got beaned in retaliation for one of Padilla's countless headhunting expeditions. Query how he'll pitch now that he's back in the NL, and has to take his turn at bat. Even with 50% quality starts, Padilla still managed to rack up a ridiculously high ERA. He's just not very good, and reportedly a drunk (which may explain some of the inconsistency). Another great character signing for the Dodgers, to be sure.
The only danger that attaches to this deal is if the Dodgers decide to exercise his 2010 option, though I'm not sure that's their choice to make.
Still, this smacks of a bit of desperation on the part of the Dodgers. All season long, I've been a bit skeptical about their ability to sustain their early season success due to questions about their starting pitching. Randy Wolf's ability to stay on the field has left me dumbfounded, but I guess he really may be healthy. Nevertheless, how many more innings can Kershaw pitch (especially if he racks up high pitch counts) if they don't want his arm to fall off? How many more trips to the DL for Kuroda? Jeff Weaver?!?! And don't look now, but the Boys in Blue may suddenly find themselves in a pennant race, when it looked like they had the division all wrapped up at the end of June.
Completely agree. The post-Clint Hurdle Rockies -- and who would have ever thought that Jim Tracy could take a team to the postseason? -- look like they might be for real, and not far behind them is the Giants. The Dodgers play the Cubs and Rocks over the next week, and it will be a real test of character. The Cubs are grossly underperforming their talent (some of which is on the increasingly geriatric shoulders of Lou Piniella), but the Rocks aren't the same team the Dodgers beat early in the season, either; most particularly, Colorado has straightened out their starting pitching. The Dodgers has fallen apart (and I'm with you, it was pretty obvious the team didn't have adequate rotation depth when the season started). It should be a fascinating week. A train wreck? A week of treading water? Or a triumphant return to early season form? I could see any of these occurring.
Let's slow down with the credit to Tracy - Hurdle made the stupid decisions to not play Ian Stewart and bat Tulo near the bottom of the lineup. Tracy fixing those decisions doesn't automatically make him any better than he was with us. Plus their pitching has been pretty damn good, which he shouldn't get any credit for either.
Well, okay, but isn't that the triumph of the less stupid? In some ways, it's embarrassing to have to admit that Tracy is smarter (in one set of decisions) than the only guy to get his team to win two postseason series in a single season in franchise history -- more than Tracy ever accomplished. But it's also possible the team just needed a bitchslap because Hurdle was too comfortable.

Checking last year's purge, the only major pieces of the coaching staff to return was pitching coach Bob Apodaca and Clint Hurdle.
I give Apodaca a lot of credit because Jimenez is the only pitcher I think is any good on that staff. Cook does get a lot of ground balls though, and De La Rosa strikes a lot of guys out. I think Marquis's season is a fluke/career year. I'll give credit to Tracy for playing his best players, but that really says more about Hurdle and his unwillingness to do that.
Yeah, I was kind of surprised when the Cards let Marquis walk, because he's exactly the kind of pitcher that Dave Duncan can work miracles with, i.e. make him appear competent. Apparently Apodaca has a similar mojo.

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