Vicente Padilla was designated for assignment last Friday. The Rangers were accorded ten days to try and work out a trade, but are seemingly cutting ties with the enigmatic pitcher far in advance of that deadline as they have reportedly released Padilla. He is expected to clear release waivers within the next 48 hours and then be declared a free agent. In doing so, the Rangers are forced to eat a little over $5 million combined between the remaining salary for this year and Padilla’s $1.75M option for 2010.
Padilla, if you have forgotten, was traded to Texas originally from Philadelphia in December of 2005, in exchange for Ricardo Rodriguez a pitcher who never even threw a meaningful pitch for the Phillies organization at any level before getting released. Rodriguez has subsequently been signed and dropped by the Braves, Cardinals, Marlins and Pirates with his five month stint with Florida marking his longest tenure amongst the five NL organizations. He must have some really irritating clubhouse habits or something.
Meanwhile, Vicente Padilla went on to have a banner year with the Rangers, winning 15 games and posting a 4.50 ERA and 4.26 FIP. His numbers, though, were not exactly surprising, just his innings pitched total was, finally reaching 200. Padilla was rewarded with a 3-year, $33.75-million contract and the aforementioned club option for 2010.
Expected to provide a second punch behind Kevin Millwood in the Rangers rotation, Padilla promptly went out and pitched the worst statistical season of his career, a 5.26 FIP and the disappearance of his missed bats leading to a cratered strikeout rate. The strikeouts came back last year, but along with them came more fly balls and more home runs. While Padilla managed to correct the fly balls this season, he completely lost the strikeouts, down to under 5 per 9IP.
For their $33.75 million investment, one many critics panned at the time, the Rangers netted back 3.9 wins, worth $17.6 million in value according to our measurements. The Rangers paid about $8.7 million per win on Padilla’s contract which just goes to show that maybe you should reconsider giving big money deals to pitchers once referred to as among the league’s dumbest.