In the most minor of trade deadline deals, the Los Angeles Dodgers traded pitcher Claudio Vargas to the Milwaukee Brewers for back-up catcher Vinny Rottino. Less than three weeks later, the Dodgers saw a rotation slot open up, with no obvious options at hand to fill it.
So, did they hurt themselves by helping Vargas?
Vargas is no great shakes, mind you, he’s thrown 20 innings in relief this season with a 3.84 FIP, but the Dodgers need for a starter includes reaching out to free agent Vicente Padilla and inking him to a minor league deal. Outside of name value, the two are pretty similar.
Over the last three years Vargas has appeared in 57 games, starting 27, with a 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. Padilla meanwhile has started all 70 of his games with a 5.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Since 2007, Padilla’s FIP is 5.04 and tRA is 5.96 while Vargas’ is 4.86 and 5.40. Since Vargas basically split his time between relief and starting you can add about a half run to both his run average metrics to project the numbers as a full time starter and you wind up with 5.36 and 5.90.
Padilla pitched in the American League and in a park that has a 1.04 PF per our five-year factors. Vargas pitched in Milwaukee (1.00), the part of New York that reps the National League (0.97), and of course with the Dodgers (0.98). Meaning Padilla has had the tougher slate of batters faced in tougher pitching environments yet performed near equally.
Padilla will make about 100k from this point on which is right on with what Vargas would make. Neither cost anything but money, making them essentially equal in value. I suppose this is a case of nothing gained, nothing lost, although it could make the Dodgers think twice before making another ‘favor trade’ in the future.
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