Edinson Volquez signs major league deal with Dodgers, per reports

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Volquez turned 30 on July 3 and since then has a 6.98 ERA, matching Dodgers fifth starter Chris Capuano over his last four starts.

The Dodgers will host the Padres for a weekend series at Dodger Stadium beginning Friday night, and it appears the they will add a player intimately familiar with San Diego. Right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez has agreed to terms with the Dodgers on a major league deal, per reports from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.

Volquez, who was designated for assignment by the Padres on Saturday and released on Monday, has been simply terrible for San Diego this season. The right-hander was 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts this season, with 116 strikeouts and 69 walks in his 142⅓ innings.

He has a 5.15 ERA in 79 starts over the last three seasons, including 2010 with the Reds. Perhaps the Dodgers think they can fix whatever is wrong with Volquez, but that 17-6 campaign with a 3.21 ERA in 2008 with Cincinnati seems like eons ago now.

Maybe the Dodgers were simply tired of promoting Yasiel Puig, Hyun-jin Ryu and Paco Rodriguez and wanted another potential Rookie of the Year candidate in Volquez.

Volquez is making $5.275 million this season, but the Padres are on the hook for all but the pro-rated share of the major league minimum of $490,000. If Volquez passes his physical to complete the deal on Thursday, as reported by Hernandez the Dodgers would be responsible for approximately $85,683 for his services.

What this means for the starting rotation is anyone's guess. At a minimum, the Volquez singing implies a lack of faith in Chris Capuano or Stephen Fife down the stretch. Capuano has gone from alternating good and bad starts to simply not pitching well; he has a 6.98 ERA in his last four starts, with 37 runners allowed to reach base in 19⅓ innings.

Fife's brief stint in the Triple-A bullpen - designed to keep him, in essence, on call - has turned a pitcher who was 4-3 with a 2.47 ERA in nine starts with the Dodgers, with just 14 walks in 51 innings, into one with a 13.03 ERA in his last four appearances with the Isotopes, with 11 walks and four strikeouts in 9⅔ innings.

The original plan was for Fife to provide some relief of sorts once rosters expand in September, to give the starting rotation an extra day of rest once, or maybe twice through the order. But with Fife's recent struggles those plans have changed, though he will still join the Dodgers in September.

"We have looked at a lot of different scenarios. There are no definite plans for Stephen at any certain date to be pitching," manager Don Mattingly said before Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Cubs. "I know he's got another minor league start before the first, then he'll be here."

It is unknown whether the Dodgers would throw Volquez into the fire right away. He last pitched Friday, when he allowed six runs and faced 11 batters without getting out of the first inning against the Cubs.

Capuano, for now, is scheduled to pitch against the Padres on Saturday.

With the signing of Volquez, the Dodgers will have a full 40-man roster.

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