Dodgers Sign Vicente Padilla To A Minor League Contract

Looking to bolster their starting rotation, especially with the uncertainty of Hiroki Kuroda's return, the Dodgers have signed former Texas Ranger Vicente Padilla today, shortly after he cleared waivers.  Padilla was placed on unconditional release waivers by the Rangers on Monday.  Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has the details:

Padilla is expected to make at least one minor league start for the Dodgers before joining the big league rotation. He hasn't pitched since Aug. 5, his final start for the Rangers, who released him this week.

Padilla was 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA and 4.93 FIP in 18 starts with Texas.  Padilla has seen his strikeout rate plummet this season to just 4.9 per nine innings, but he did last six innings in 11 of his 18 starts.  He had nine quality starts with the Rangers.  His FIPs the last few years have also left a bit to be desired:

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
FIP 5.02 4.34 5.37 5.05 4.93

Just last month, Padilla was diagnosed with swine flu, although he missed just one start.  Whether or not he was contagious to his Ranger teammates, Padilla wasn't exactly the most popular teammate in the world.  From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Some players said Padilla kept his distance and had discipline problems.

"You have to be a good teammate," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "You have to help the younger guys do things right."

More evidence that Padilla was not well-liked, from the Dallas Morning News upon his release:

"About time," said outfielder Marlon Byrd, who also played with Padilla in Philadelphia. "It's absolutely a positive for this team. We have to get rid of the negatives to make a positive, and I believe this is a huge positive for this team."

and:

As word spread throughout the clubhouse, Texas players showed Daniels their approval. Handshakes were exchanged, and Ian Kinsler went so far as to say, "Congrats."

Padilla also had an incident in June when he hit former Mark Teixeira twice in one game.  The club was so upset with him that he was placed on waivers shortly thereafter, although he continued to pitch for Texas until the beginning of August.

Joe Torre has said the Dodger clubhouse is well equipped to deal with any type of "problem player," and when Padilla's name was brought up, Torre intimated there would be no problems in Los Angeles.

The Rangers are on the hook for all of Padilla's $12 million salary this year (plus his $1.75 million buyout of his 2010 option), except for a pro-rated share of the major league minimum salary of $400,000.  I'm not sure of the details of the minor league portion of the contract, but if Padilla is called up to start next Thursday in Denver, there would be 38 days left in the 183-day season, so the Dodgers would pay Padilla roughly $83,060.

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