Texas Rangers Should Send Vicente Padilla Packing

Matthew IrbySenior Analyst IJune 4, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 13:  Pitcher Vicente Padilla #44 of the Texas Rangers leaves the game in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles on April 13, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As multiple sources have reported throughout the day, the Texas Rangers have placed pitcher Vicente Padilla on outright waivers. 

What this means for the team is still a little unclear, but here is what I know: If it's true that Padilla has been placed on outright waivers—he will be there until 1 p.m. Friday—he can be claimed by any team in baseball. The order of waiver pickup priority is worst to best record from last season, I believe.

If he passes through Friday's deadline, then the Rangers can send him to the minor leagues. However, because of his service time in the majors, Padilla has the right to decline the assignment to the minors and immediately become a free agent.

Additionally, this move does not take Padilla off of the 40-man roster.

Here are some statistics from Padilla's career and time spent with the Rangers.

For his career, Padilla has gone 89-82 with a 4.37 ERA. Opponents are batting .268 against him and a WHIP at 1.39. He has 907 strikeouts and 477 walks.

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In his fourth year with the Rangers we has a record of 38-31 with a 4.96 ERA. He has 381 strikeouts and 209 walks in a Rangers uniform.

To say his time with the Rangers has been inconsistent would be fair when comparing his numbers by the seasons:

2006: 15-10, 4.50 ERA, 200 IP, .266 opponent's AVG., 1.38 WHIP, 156 K, 70 BB

2007: 6-10, 5.76 ERA, 120.1 IP, .299 opponent's AVG., 1.63 WHIP, 71 K, 50 BB

2008: 14-8, 4.74 ERA, 171 IP, .275 opponent's AVG., 1.46 WHIP, 127 K, 65 BB

2009: 3-3, 5.57 ERA, 53.1 IP, .277 opponent's AVG., 1.52 WHIP, 27 K, 24 BB

How many other pitchers in the league can be on one season, off the next, then on again, etc?

He had back-to-back one-hitter starts in the month of May, in which he accumulated 15 innings pitched and only one earned run. In his next two starts, he gave up a combined 17 hits and 10 earned runs.

Twice this season he has been unable to finish four innings; Rangers fans haven't had to put up with that from Kevin Millwood, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison, or even Derek Holland.

Those are the facts.

If Padilla is either claimed off waivers by another team or asks for his release from the organization, here is what will likely happen.

Texas will have lost its No. 2 starter, and the starting rotation would likely consist of Millwood, McCarthy, Feldman, Holland, and Tommy Hunter. Hunter or Holland would either go back to the bullpen or the minors when Harrison returned from the DL.

Maybe it's not the ideal rotation for a team attempting to make a run at the divisional title and postseason, but because of Padilla's inconsistency it could work out better in the long run.

If Padilla is not claimed by any team and the Rangers keep him with the Major League squad and keep him in the rotation, then a message has been sent.

During the offseason, team president Nolan Ryan called out his pitchers, saying they need to be in better shape at the beginning of spring training, not the end.  For the most part every pitcher in the rotation or bullpen has adhered to that order—everyone except Padilla. 

Padilla still looks years older than his 31 years would lead you to expect. He looks tired, old, and fatigued. He looks like a pitcher getting beat.

Maybe his placement on waivers being leaked to the public will ignite his fire and the team can see the Padilla of old.

We aren't likely to know any more until Friday afternoon, but my decision has already been made. It was made before the season, and before last season as well.

Get rid of Padilla!

Send him to the minors and make him ask for his release from the organization. Close the book on a painful and frustrating chapter in Rangers pitching.

In fact, I'll offer to help get the guy packed and drive him to the airport if that's any incentive.

I understand that making such a move could hurt the Rangers chances in making a run for the divisional title and postseason. Still, his attitude and inconsistencies are too much to bear. 

I'm not making a direct comparison, but doesn't this remind you a little of Sidney Ponson last season?

In my opinion, the Texas Rangers are a better pitching staff, a better clubhouse, and a better team without the services of one Vicente Padilla.

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