The Dodgers today have finalized their deal with Vicente Padilla. He has signed a one-year deal believed to be worth $2 million in base salary, plus a boatload of potential performance incentives (potentially up to $8 million in incentives per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com). He is expected to get a shot at the starting role, but his most likely role to start the season will be as swing man out of the bullpen.
“Vicente’s flexibility and willingness to be in whatever role we may need him in was very important to us,” said General Manager Ned Colletti. “We believe he is capable of filling practically any role on our staff and we are very glad to have him back.”
When Padilla has been good with the Dodgers, he has been very good. He has 11 quality starts, and in those games he is 7-2 with a 1.55 ERA with 16 walks and 75 strikeouts. However, in his other 12 starts he is 3-3 with a 6.99 ERA, with 19 walks and 45 strikeouts. Couple that volatility with injuries -- Padilla battled a nerve problem in his right arm as well as a bulging disc in his neck in 2010, limiting him to 95 innings pitched -- and it's easy to see why the base salary is so low.
Padilla has made just one relief appearance in the last nine seasons, and that came in 2009 with the Dodgers, a two-inning stint in game 159 of the season. At that point, Padilla was on the bubble for a postseason rotation spot, but struck out 10 in five innings on the final day of the season, then pitched seven masterful innings in two straight playoff starts to make his mark on Dodger history (with those, it was easier to forget his clunker in Game 5 of the NLCS).
Padilla gives the Dodgers technically 38 players on the 40-man roster, which will be full once the additions of Tony Gwynn Jr. and Dioner Navarro become official. It also means that, of the nine 2010 Dodgers who filed for free agency, the Dodgers have re-signed five of them (Lilly, Gibbons, Kuroda, Barajas, Padilla).