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Winter Meetings Day 2: Dodgers And Vicente Padilla On Collision Course

As day two of the MLB Winter Meetings are upon us, it appears the Dodgers and Vicente Padilla are on a collision course. The theory is that Padilla would be a swing man, spot starter out of the bullpen. The rumor started last Thursday from a tweet from someone called OURDODGERS. Later that night the signing was reported by Jason Churchill of ESPN, although that was premature. Since then, Padilla has been linked to the Dodgers by Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, Jayson Stark of ESPN, Ken Gurnick of, Tony Jackson of ESPN LA, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, and finally this morning by Molly Knight of ESPN.

Gurnick also reported this morning that Padilla is close to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Dodgers, plus incentives. Padilla is scheduled to take a physical on Thursday to finalize the deal. I love that deal.

Sure the Dodgers are starter-rich, and Padilla has made one appearance out of the bullpen in the last nine seasons, but in theory it just may work. Padilla does have good stuff, and has battled injuries the last few years so perhaps using him in short bursts may be the most effective way to use him.

Since joining the Dodgers in August 2009, Padilla has been a very effective pitcher, when he pitches. He is 10-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 24 games (23 starts), and has had career-best strikeout (8.2 per nine innings) and walk rates (2.4 per nine innings). In 2010, Padilla missed large chunks of time with right elbow soreness and later a bulging disc in his neck, and was limited to 95 innings, his lowest total since 2001. Padilla made $5.025 million last season, $1 million of which was a signing bonus that will be paid on April 1, 2011.