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.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.