Have No Fear, Vicente Padilla Is Here!

(In the voice of Don LaFontaine)… 

From the depths of Texas, a man goes to L.A. to save a city from ruin and collapse… 

Dodgertown Productions brings you the motion picture starring the newest, the biggest, and baddest super hero: 

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VICENTE… 

That’s right, folks.  Vicente Padilla is here to save the day.  Starting pitching concerns?  No problem, Vicente will take care of that.  And when you say his name, it has to be said just like Don LaFontaine.  

Alright, I’ll stop goofing off and get back to reality.  So… 

O.K., be honest. 

When you heard the news of the Vicente Padilla signing, wasn’t there that voice inside of you that just went: “CRAP!!”? 

If so, don’t blame you.  In fact, that was my reaction tonight when I first heard it from Vin (I guess that means I heard it from myself?  No, I’m not schizo… yet).  It’s not even so much about the talent level than it’s the fact that it’s, well, Vicente Padilla: douchebag extraordinaire (on a side note, there kinda goes the whole “we sign good character guys” thing, huh, McCourtsy?). 

I was gone at a gathering tonight when I heard the news and, I swear, right then and there, I wanted to jump into the nearest cold shower.  It just felt like the Dodgers got an STD or a virus or the swine flu or something… oh wait.  Nonetheless, enough about that; since he was signed for his pitching, let’s talk about that, since I’ve already wasted half of the article screwing around… 

So one of the common things you always hear, and it’s been said in regards to this signing is that “you can never have enough pitching!”  However, let’s actually qualify that statement: it should be “you can never have enough GOOD pitching.”  An obvious statement, I know, but sometimes, it seems people can mix up quantity and quality and think that just because we signed a pitcher, therefore it gives us more depth.  Except, if he’s a bad pitcher, it doesn’t.  With Padilla, it’s not that he’s a terrible pitcher, but he’s not a particularly good one, either.  He had some pretty good seasons in 2002 and 2003 in Philadelphia (118 and 110 ERA+, respectively), but he’s been hovering around below average since, with a 102 ERA+ in 2006 being the closest he’s come to being average since 2003.  He hasn’t had a regular ERA below 4.50 since 2003, either, and over the past few seasons, he’s had ERA’s of 5.76, 4.74 and, this year, 4.92.  On top of that, his FIP over the past few years has been pretty bad, usually hovering in the 5′s, with this year’s FIP at 4.93, while his K/9 rate this year has dropped all the way to 4.9.  

Again, our hero: 

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VICENTE!!… 

In all honesty, this move doesn’t really phase me too much from a performance standpoint.  It’s a minor league deal that’s worth under $100,000, so it won’t really hurt the Dodgers financially, and he can only be considered an upgrade from Jason Schmidt.  Then again, over the long haul, I think a double arm amputee could be an upgrade from Jason Schmidt.  The point is, Padilla can be serviceable, and his average 6 IP per start is helpful, but some questions are raised: based on all the negatives he does have as a pitcher, and off the field, even if the move does work out and he does well, should we be concerned with the philosophy of the front office straying (again?) from giving young kids with probable higher upside (i.e. McDonald, Elbert, even Stults, etc.) the chance to start and instead going with a below average guy (in more ways than one) whose team just paid him millions of dollars to leave, with teammates thrilled by his departure?  In other words, is there any reason to believe that Vicente Padilla is really any better than what we could get from a McDonald, Haeger, Elbert, or even Stults, etc.?  And if so, is the difference really significant and worth all the baggage that comes with it? 

The goal, by the way, is for Padilla to start in Albuquerque on Sunday and then debut against the Rockies at Coors Field.  I suppose if he is getting bombed, he can cough on the Rockie hitters or something… but I doubt that will happen.  For Padilla’s a true fighter… 

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