According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox have reached an agreement with righty Vicente Padilla. Details have not yet been released, but it seems fairly safe to assume that Padilla, like Carlos Silva and Aaron Cook, will be receiving a minor league deal. The 34 year old pitcher missed nearly all of the 2011 season after neck injuries necessitated surgery.
Reports from MLB Trade rumors had the former Dodger showing a completely recovery thus far during a stint in winter ball inNicaragua. In 2009, his last full season of action, split between the Texas Rangers and the Dodgers, Padilla posted a 4.45 ERA and a matching FIP. Prior to his neck troubles in 2010, he was showing a remarkably higher ability to get strikeouts than any other time in his career. As long as the Red Sox are paying a small price and the deal is either a minor league contract or a split deal, this signing has potential to help the team out greatly, givingBostona low cost league average arm or better.
Padilla might have some strong upside, but he also comes with plenty of risk. His reputation for throwing at players has given many teams a reason to stay away from him and in the past it seems to have angered position player teammates, most notably former Rangers teammate Mark Teixeira. For a team that already had a number of issues with the clubhouse environment, Padilla might not be the best choice. Manager Bobby Valentine will certainly not be shy about how he expects Padilla to act should he earn a spot with the big league club and I would guess that he will be on a very short leash.
The move continues a trend toward low cost pitching options and (hopefully) minor league deals. New GM Ben Cherington seems satisfied to build his rotation with veterans who are flying below the radar rather than getting tied up with another expensive contract like the ones given to Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzka and John Lackey.
The move is almost certainly not the last one for Bostonon the pitching front. The team continues to speak with top tier free agent Roy Oswalt amid reports that his asking price has dropped to the $8M range. With the rival Yankees stocked up for another AL East title run, Boston needs all the arms they can get.