The case for, and against, Vicente Padilla

Mariano hits annual snag
Early Heritage Park plans lacking heritage

If you ask Brian Cashman, on the record, if he thinks the team needs another starting pitcher, he’ll probably say no. He and Joe Girardi have stood at Sergio Mitre‘s back after each of his starts this season, even the last three. He’s the fifth starter going forward, they say, and he won’t lose that spot just because of a few bad outings. No one’s really buying it. They just brought in Chad Gaudin, and are thinking about starting him on Sunday. It suggests that the Yankees might still be on the lookout for someone to fill that fifth spot, allowing Gaudin to pitch out of the pen and give the big starters some rest in September (if they can put some more distance between themselves and the Sox).

August is scrap heap time in baseball, a period when teams place most if not all of their players on waivers to gauge interest around the league. Players of significance usually don’t change teams at this time of year, but it does happen. General managers, for the most part, are searching out pieces to fill in the puzzle, rather than someone to anchor the team. That’s exactly what the Yankees should be doing right now. Instead of remaining content with Sergio Mitre, they should be looking around to see if there are any viable alternatives.

One name that immediately comes to mind is Vicente Padilla, recently designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers. That would seem to raise a red flag — after all, the Rangers don’t have the best pitching, right? It’s not the best, but this year they rank fifth in the AL in starter’s ERA, and fourth in the AL in overall ERA. This isn’t like picking up a starter the Indians or Orioles released. So let’s take a little look at Vicente.

A 1998 amateur free agent signing by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Padilla landed in Philadelphia in the Curt Schilling trade. There he posted two very good seasons, in 2002 and 2003, before missing some time in 2004 and 2005. The Phillies dished him to Texas for a song, and after something of a bounceback season the Rangers signed him to a three-year, $33.75 million deal before the 2007 season.

For the past three years Padilla has been something of a disappointment. His ERA and WHIP have been far above acceptable levels for a pitcher making that type of money. His strikeout rate has been up and down, and his walks have been above the level he established in Philly. There’s been little to like about Padilla, especially his propensity to hit batters, apparently unprompted.

So what would the Yankees see in this guy? For starters, his woes this year might be partly a product of his home ballpark. His ERA on the road is two full runs lower than at home. Get him out of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and perhaps you have a useful pitcher. Then again, his strikeouts are higher at home and his walks are lower, so there’s no guarantee that he can find a home in a new ballpark. In addition, one of Padilla’s few poor road starts this year came at Yankee Stadium.

Padilla also pitches well against righties, a .676 OPS vs. a .862 OPS against lefties. Since the league has more righties than lefties, that’s not a bad thing. Then again, the Yankees have that quality in Gaudin, so Padilla could be redundant. So far, the case for him isn’t looking too strong.

The case against him is far stronger. Padilla has never been a front line starter, and it’s questionable whether he can hold down even the fifth spot in a rotation. The Rangers might have improved their staff this year, but even so they wouldn’t jettison a useful pitcher just because. They let him go for a reason — just like they placed him on waivers in June for a reason. Mike Maddux is considered one of the best pitching coaches in the game, so if he can’t reclaim Padilla, can any coach?

Strangely, even with all signs pointing to Padilla’s ineffectiveness carrying over to a new club, a team might be willing to pay more than the minimum for Padilla by working out a trade with Texas. That should put the Yanks right out. Even if they sign him for the prorated league minimum, he could be ineffective and redundant. The Yanks could use a guy to help fill in the back end of the rotation, but if they’re going to pick someone up it might as well be someone better than what they already have.

Mariano hits annual snag
Early Heritage Park plans lacking heritage
  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Stay far, far away.

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      +A bajillion.

      • Dela G

        + 7

  • zs190

    Please no, clubhouse cancer who also can’t pitch? ERA+>100 once (102 in 2006) in last 6 seasons, would rather just use Gaudin.

    • whozat

      A guy who can’t pitch that is also a clubhouse cancer. If he could pitch, guys would get over it.

  • zs190

    Not to mention this guy throws at people a lot, we can ill afford having people retaliate often and hit our guys(particularly after yesterday)

    • SF Yanks

      Padilla is my number one most HATED baseball player. He continues to drill people because of his own suckiness, and he just stands on the mound with that never-changing, condescending look on his face. I have never rooted against anyone in pinstripes, but if he found his way over, I would hope he could do as poorly as possible while the Yanks still winning the game.

      No to this smug ass loser.

      Lawrd do I hate that pig in a human suit.

      • Klemy

        You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.


    • Klemy


      I don’t like the idea of our players getting hurt because he likes to throw at people or just doesn’t have the control to pitch inside effectively.

  • JonG

    Tex also has publicly stated his hatred for the guy.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Yeah, but he looks like a Goomba. So he’s got that going for him.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD

        Too bad Giambi’s not still here. He could’ve grown out the ‘stache and they could’ve gone out as Mario and a Goomba for Halloween.

        • jsbrendog

          this would have pleased me to no end

  • Rob in CT

    The possible marginal upgrade does not justify dealing with this schmuck. He’s a hothead who could easily do a lot of harm, and if memory serves he’s just brutal to watch on the mound (takes forever). You live with stuff like that if he represents significant improvement, bot otherwise no thankee.

  • Paul

    PLEASE don’t mess with Tex. One thing that has worked very well this season is the clubhouse, and Tex is a big part of that, along with Swisher, AJ, and CC. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Melky and Cano look like their old happy-go-lucky selves after seeming listless at times last year, and ARod looks more comfortable and more a part of the team than ever. If this guy were Cy Young, I wouldn’t want him, and his performance to date puts him closer to Dick Young.

    • Klemy


  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I know that this place likes to make the argument against team chemistry as a factor sometimes, but I’ll go against the grain here (or maybe not) and say HELLS NO. This guy’s not fit to ever even sniff Yankee pinstripes.

  • C Bleak

    There is no chance they even explore the idea of adding this guy.

  • Doug

    .862 OPS against lefties, pitching in the NYS? No thanks

  • jsbrendog

    t-minus 1 week til the jason hirsch experiment in the ml?

    sidney ponson was just granted free agency….just sayin..

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      Every time you suggest Ponson to the Yankees, Mo kills a kitten.

      • jsbrendog

        maybe i don’t like cats….but seriously I don’t care if he sucks HORRIBLY. for the prorated portion of the league minimum (which, if we sign him with 40 games to go we only pay him ~$99,000) i’m more than willing to send him out there for one start to see how he is. he can’t be worse than mitre and he pitched some alright games for us last year. he always seems (in his first 2 tours) to pitch relatively better here after being cut somewhere else.

        • C Bleak

          Many Kittens have been killed. There is no evidence that he will be any better than Mitre and its not even worth the roster moves to take that kind of gamble.

          • Ed

            Mitre – 7.04 ERA, 1.91 WHIP
            Padilla – 4.92 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

            Sadly, Padilla is a significant upgrade. It only makes sense to do though if the team is ready to get rid of Mitre.

            • jsbrendog

              you should read the comments before you post because this certain discussion has absolutely nothing to do with the padilla flotilla

              • C Bleak

                right, i was talking about Ponson.

                • jsbrendog

                  i know you were. ed wasn’t. does no one read? read ed’s comment. mine is obviously in reference to his. not yours. jeez

            • zs190

              Meh, Chad Gaudin, 5.03 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, if that’s how you measure effectiveness, we have guys that can do that already.

            • C Bleak

              If Tex doesn’t want him on the team because he hates him then there is no reason to sign him. He clearly has an attitude problem and shouldn’t even be considered if there is any chance he throws a wrench into how the team is playing right now.

              I was talking about Ponson in regards to not even thinking about signing him as he wouldn’t be an upgrade over Mitre. Padilla might be an upgrade but has questionable character and is already disliked by players on the team.

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      Also, it’s “Hirsh,” so, jsbren has made a typo…everyone drink.

      • jsbrendog

        you are mistaken. its not when i make a typo.

        it is when i leave a lettero n the wrong word o rsomething like this

        • Klemy

          Just be thankful you don’t drink when I typo my “ing” on endigns. You’d all be wasted.

  • joshweis

    The reason Tex hates Padilla is 1) he threw at Tex 2x in the game in June this year and 2) Tex was the one who would get hit as retribution when he played for the Rangers. I think our guys get hit enough without Padilla on the team.

    Though it would be fun to watch him throw at Youk.

    • Klemy

      Which would result again with Tex/ARod/Jeter being plunked.

  • Doug

    The one guy I might have taken a shot on was Harang (8 Ks per 9; 3.5/1 K/BB), but according to MLBTR, the Reds aren’t going to deal him even through he cleared waivers.

    • Stryker

      his contract is also very, very expensive for the numbers he’s put up. he’s a middle of the rotation guy yet he gets paid like a front line starter.

      • Doug

        well, he WAS a front-line starter when he signed it (at least in the NL Central)

      • Matt ACTY/BBD

        Yeah, he’s owed 25.25MM from ’10-’11 so I don’t think that’d be a smart pick up. However, we could make the case that he’s been a tad on the unlucky side this year with a .342 BABIP. The Reds are pretty solid defensively, too, 7th in the majors in DER and 6th in UZR/150 so that must mean he’s giving up some hard contact…but, he’s got a 99 tRA+ so he’s probably not giving up awfully hard contact and his FIP is at 4.08. Maybe it’s just an unlucky year for Harang.

        /rambling post

        • Doug

          $12.75M for 2011 is an option. $2.5M buyout. so contract is essentially $15M guaranteed.

          but yeah, reds would have to kick in a bunch of that $ to move him.

          • Klemy

            Yeah, that would be the only way to take a chance on him. The Reds would have to eat some of that contract and that’s not likely to occur. I’m not sure why they bother waiving him at all…

  • Kiersten

    (I enjoyed that picture very much)

    • V


      I wonder if Joe became a devil’s advocate just for the sole purpose of posting the pics side by side. Heh.

      • Benjamin Kabak

        That picture is an old thing I put together a bunch of years ago. Any time we can trot it out there, we do.

  • Brian

    Russ Ortiz! Knock three times on the ceiling if you want him!
    Twice on the pipe if the answer is no.

    • V

      Knock, knock.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        wait…old song reference?

    • jsbrendog

      only if we can get shawn estes too. and livan hernandez. then we’d have the giants 2001 starting rotation…

  • Tom Zig

    Padilla also had swine flu

  • donttradecano

    stay away.

  • Steve S

    I think at this stage Gaudin is fine for the fifth spot. Especially if they intend to use Joba in the poffs. You want someone who can transition into the bullpen and Gaudin seems to be capable of that. Padilla is never going to make the postseason roster and the baggage is just not worth whatever upside may exist.

  • Makavelli

    I don’t get it. You bring up the fact that most of his bad outings were at home due to the ballpark in Arlington, almost as an “excuse” for why he was bad in an attempt at saying a signing wouldn’t be all that bad…but what about the new Yankee Stadium??

    There have been MORE home runs hit in this one…so couldn’t we assume that he’d be even worse using the same logic??

    • UWS

      From the article:

      Then again, his strikeouts are higher at home and his walks are lower, so there’s no guarantee that he can find a home in a new ballpark. In addition, one of Padilla’s few poor road starts this year came at Yankee Stadium.

      Reading FAIL.

      • Makavelli

        I don’t get it then. It should have been worded differently if he was trying to present it as a negative quality. Came off as a “not so bad” type stat…

      • Kiersten

        Well, one of his worst road starts may have been at Yankee Stadium because he was, you know, facing the Yankees.

        • Makavelli

          Exactly. They DO have the best offense in baseball…

          Strangely Swisher has that 84% of his HR being away from home though…still don’t quite understand it…

    • whozat

      Did you finish the article? Or fly off the handle as soon as you read that?

      “even with all signs pointing to Padilla’s ineffectiveness carrying over to a new club”

      Does this sound like Joe advocating a signing? Does it sound like he thinks it wouldn’t be all that bad?

      Besides, the point isn’t just how he’d be for the Yanks, it’s “what is this guy’s true talent level, and would he be a fit on the Yanks?”

      The answer to the former can be “not as bad as he’s looked this year” and the answer to the latter can still be “No!”

      • Makavelli

        There are several pitching opportunities out there. Why make a random one about Vincent Padilla if you didn’t have some thought that he’d be a fit for the team? I don’t remember seeing one on all the other available guys…

        Just saying. Convo over. It’s not necessary to go back and forth on something ridiculous.

        • whozat

          Because he might be available for the pro-rated minimum, which would make him super low-risk. Also, they like the Goomba pic.

          And wasn’t there a post around 7/31 that went over guys like Duch, Snell et al?

  • EvoLuTioN

    oh hellll no
    i rather have sir sidney

    • jsbrendog

      for less than $100,000, me too. but apparently, I am the only one who thinks so. alas.

      • jsbrendog

        plus he has a lower whip and era than mitre (not by much and he still sucks too lol)

  • THU

    I’d rather have a happy Tex and a crappy Gaudin, then a pissed off Tex and a crappy Padilla

    • aj


  • jsbrendog

    the met’s should sign him.

  • Makavelli

    Using Joba on long rest isn’t good. I understand there isn’t any other way with the innings limit…but why not do the Hughes/Joba swap? I don’t get it.

    Joba with 6+ days rest has a very good ERA…but it’s deceiving. His WHIP is over 1.50, he gives up almost as many hits as innings pitched…

    With 5 days rest he’s given up 5 home runs in 69 innings pitched, in 6+ days rest he’s given up 4 home runs in 29 innings. His strike out to walk ratio is also the lowest at 1.75. I didn’t like it when he was going up against the Red Sox on 8 days rest. I knew it was going to mess with his nice streak he had going. And I actually think random sporatic days off is going to be any more healthy than some arbitrary innings limit.

    AJ Burnett had 7 days rest against the Red Sox earlier this year and got banged up too after a few good starts. Some pitchers can handle it and others can’t. You can’t wrap every pitcher into one group and say they’ll all react the same way to something.

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      but why not do the Hughes/Joba swap? I don’t get it.

      For a few reasons. One, they don’t want to put Chamberlain back in the bullpen, which is a good reason. Two, they don’t want to move Hughes out of the set up role, which is a bad reason.

      • Makavelli

        How well do you think Padilla would do in a set up role? Like he said above…his K rates are higher at home and walks lower…perhaps feeling the pressure or something. That could be useful in a set up role. Then you move Hughes in the rotation as well. Perhaps a 6 man type thing giving Joba the extra days rest (that I don’t care for) once in a while or something. The Sox were going to do something like that when they thought they had all this pitching depth…when Smoltz was coming up…

        • Matt ACTY/BBD

          A six man rotation wouldn’t be good because it would take starts away from Sabathia and Burnett. Also, it’s probably (sadly) too late to put Hughes into the rotation because he’s not stretched out at all.

      • Nady Nation

        While I agree that Hughes in the setup role is far from ideal and I wish he was in the rotation, I’m glad that Hughes will not be forced to make the starter to reliever back to starter transition all in one season – especially knowing now that we will have Joba in the rotation for the playoffs.

        • Makavelli

          What happens *if* somebody gets injured though?

  • aj

    Justin Duchscherer is making his comeback against the Yankees. Maybe Billy Bean is trying to show him off to Cash? Maybe he slips through waivers?

    • Clutchbrera

      i don’t know, we’ll probably rock him. But if we get duscherer, i would very much approve

    • whozat

      The Sox will claim him if no one else in the AL does. Now that they’ve DFA’d Smoltz, they have an obvious roster slot for him, and the money won’t deter. He’ll get claimed before the Yanks have a shot at him, meaning he’ll be on another team, or he’ll stay with the A’s.

    • nyrfan

      ive been a duchscherer fan for a long time. too bad hes not stable enough to pitch in the NYC environment

  • Klemy

    Taking Padilla would be akin to our aquiring Armando Benitez, on my personal hatred scale.

    Padilla:Teixeira as Benitez:Tino Martinez

  • Marc

    I’d rather have para-goomba pitch than padilla. he’s dirty in mario baseball

  • Kiersten

    I just did some quick research because I was curious and the last time the Yankees had a decent #5 starter was in 2002 when El Duque posted a 3.64 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
    Since then, they have made it to the WS once, the ALCS twice and the playoffs 5 times. And since you don’t use a #5 in the playoffs anyway, the results of those series don’t really matter here.
    Basically, I don’t think the Yankees will have any problem getting to the playoffs with Mitre as their #5. It’s not ideal, but it’s definitely tolerable.

    • Chris

      In 2000, David Cone went 4-14 with a 6.91 ERA in 29 starts. If I remember correctly, that year turned out pretty well.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      with Mitre as their #5. It’s not ideal, but it’s definitely tolerable

      Thank you!

      Since when is an ace (or even a #3) required for the 5th starter? As long as Mitre isn’t throwing starts like Wang did at the beginning of the year, we’re okay.

      If the 5th starter goes 4+ innings, that’s acceptable. It’s when you get a 1.1 inning start that it totally screws up the bullpen.

  • nyrfan

    “It [steroids/amphetamines] might be dangerous,” he said, according to the report, “but so is drinking and driving. And how many of us do it at least once a year? Pretty much everybody.”
    -Bronson Arroyo

    Screw Padilla and Gaudin. I think we should bring Arroyo in just to see how many stupid things he says to the media. Definitely worth a couple of mediocre starts

    • Makavelli

      He resembles a seattle grunge era musician (minus the talent)

      There’s a good chance he’s put more than steroids into his veins if we judge the book by it’s cover…

  • Ghost of Scott Brosius

    The thing about mitre is that he gives you the same consistent badness every time out. A guy like padilla or arroyo would get shelled a bunch of times, ending up with similar eras to mitre, but theyd give you the potential of pitching a gem a couple times. With mitre, there’s just no hope that he’ll be at all exceptional.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      With mitre, there’s just no hope that he’ll be at all exceptional.

      You didn’t give your definition of exceptional, but a quality start is 3 runs or less for 6 innings, so I assume that an exceptional start is better than that.

      Since when is that required of the 5th starter?

      As long as our 4 other starters continue as they’re currently doing, I have no problem w/ Mitre doing the same.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        Ive said this several times in RAB discussions, and i’ll say it again: what Mitre is doing IS acceptable. We CAN live with it. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t look for improvement. We could have lived with Nick Swisher at first, but we had an opportunity for an upgrade and we took it. Mitre has done nothing to earn our undying loyalty.

        If we can find someone who can give us a quality start every other time out, or even every third time out, we should look into this person, because Mitre will likely NEVER give us even one quality start.

        That person may not exist. If he doesn’t, fine. Mitre doesn’t need to be brought before a firing squad. But just because we can survive him, doesn’t mean we need to get complacent.

        • Makavelli

          We CAN live with him as a 5th starter ASSUMING everybody else is going to be healthy the rest of the year and into the post season. You can’t assume that.

          What happens if AJ and/or Joba go down? What happens then?

          We fill the rotation with Gaudin and/or some of these other bums and trudge galantly into the post season?

          That will put a lot of pressure on the offense.

          I’ll take Mitre as the 5th right now…but I don’t like not finding another option just in case if something worse happens…

    • Kiersten

      I’d rather have someone consistently mediocre every time out then someone who is going to get shelled. Mitre has pitched like crap, yes, but he gives the Yankees a chance to win every time out. We don’t need a gem from the #5, we need someone who will keep the team in games. With the Yankees’ offense 4-5 innings of 5-run ball is good enough. Are the Yanks gonna win every time he’s on the mound? No, but I’m fairly positive the Yanks aren’t 24-0 in CC’s starts.

    • Du

      I agree with Ghost, I think Padilla can pitch a gem a couple times.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    We have issues with our guys getting drilled now. Adding this douche would make it worse. And Teix hates him and we love Teix. Nuff said.

  • Makavelli

    I can’t believe that these shlubs are the only options right now…

    Why isn’t there another Shawn Chacon type deal we could be making on the cheap?

    Mitre? Padilla? Aceves? Gaudin?

    They’re all the same. Some worse than others…but nobody extraordinarily better than the other…

    If those are our options…we might as well just throw a dart at the dart board and use “that guy”…

    • 27 this year

      Shawn Chacon sucked every year other than that stretch with us that he was good. Before we made the deal, he had numbers like Gaudin, Padilla, and the Shlubs you’re talking about. We just caught lightning in a bottle that year.

      • Makavelli

        I would hardly call a 4.09 ERA, giving up 7 HR, and 69 hits in 72.2 innings pitched in thin-air Coors Field… “the same” as Gaudin, Padilla, and the other shlubs…

  • Bo

    The clubhouse cancer thing is a little overblown. We’ve seen many a player be deemed a cancer in the clubhouse and turn out just fine in a veteran winning clubhouse like the Yankees.

    He certainly beats seeing Mitre every 5th day

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      He certainly beats seeing Mitre every 5th day

      No. No he doesn’t.

  • Ro-Bin-Son

    Doesnt vicente look more like this?

    or is it just me

  • Danny

    absolutely not, i hate that guy, and to see him in a yankee uniform would just……ugh.

  • Deidre Beverly Mann

    So wish I could be there in San Francisco to see my team :-) GO Rangers!

  • Crispin

    Hi wonderful article , Thank you sharing this info