Dodgers lose Vicente Padilla to elbow surgery, out indefinitely

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And just like that, the Dodgers’ impressive rotation depth is no more.

Vicente Padilla returned to Los Angeles to have an MRI exam on his sore right elbow and the news isn’t good, as the Dodgers announced today that he’ll undergo surgery “to free up a nerve that is entrapped in his forearm.”

There’s no timetable yet for Padilla’s recovery, but the surgery will be performed tomorrow and he’s clearly going to miss an extended period of time. He spent two months on the disabled list with elbow problems last year as well, which played a part in his accepting just $3 million in guaranteed money to re-sign this offseason.

Padilla’s loss may not have a huge impact on the Dodgers unless another starter goes down, as he was slated for the bullpen initially with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, and Jon Garland ahead of him on the rotation depth chart. Padilla had a 3.31 ERA in 12 starts after returning from the DL in mid-June and the 33-year-old right-hander went 32-19 with a 4.49 ERA in 413 innings overall during the previous three seasons.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.