Padilla made $5.025M as a Dodger last season, as is seeking a slightly higher figure for 2011, and evidently has hinted at wanted more than a one-year contract.
While Padilla was effective and seemed rejuvenated at times, other times he was severely hampered by nagging injuries that removed him from games in early innings.
When he's on, he's lights out. But can the Dodgers afford another season like 2010 in which starters are consistently injured and minor-leaguers can't cover the gaps?
Los Angeles traded James McDonald, a potential starter in the making, to acquire Octavio Dotel, before trading Dotel to the Rockies prior to the conclusion of the season. John Ely roared on to the Major League scene, only to pull a 180 degree turn and become completely unreliable.
Signing Padilla seems like a huge gamble for the Boys in Blue, and GM Ned Colletti has hinted at going after an outfielder before making a decision on the remainder of the rotation.
If the Dodgers indeed pursue an outfielder first, they may not have the payroll to accommodate Padilla, which may be a good thing.
It's far more reasonable for the Dodgers to pick up a fifth starter closer to the season, or promote from within if a power bat in left field can be inserted into the line-up.
Additionally, if the team can't acquire a fifth starter prior to Spring Training, they may test the trade market with James Loney to get a power bat at first base, or in the outfield with an economy substitution at first base.
If either of those scenarios come to fruition, expect the Dodgers to find a back-of-the-rotation starter at the bottom of the free agent pool, or in their minor-league affiliates.
Padilla remains an option, but his asking price and/or years desired will have to come down, or the Soap Bubble will be floating elsewhere when 2011 arrives.