In a move that is destined to turn Chavez Ravine into a giant yawn contest, the Dodgers have signed former Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla to a minor league contract. Talk about a low-risk, low-reward move.
Padilla will pitch at Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday before joining the big league team, and is expected to start against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 27.
The good news on this signing is the Dodgers won’t have to pay Padilla much more than their ball boys, as the Rangers will eat the $8 million he’s owed after dumping him a couple days ago. The bad news is that he isn’t much better than the ball boys, even when you take into account his recent bout with swine flu.
(Speaking of swine flu, apparently the virus has hit a Japanese baseball team pretty hard. The team’s name? The Nippon Ham Fighters. Not kidding.)
Padilla turns 32 in late September, and at this point in his career, what you see is what you get. He’s going to walk some guys. He’s going to hit some guys (eighth all-time among active pitchers). And he’s going to give up some home runs (although, only 12 so far this season).His line this season (8-6, 4.92), is about on target with his career line (94-85, 4.36).
Is Padilla really any better than Charlie Haeger, Eric Stults or James McDonald? Seems doubtful, but with Hiroki Kuroda heading to the disabled list, I guess it doesn’t hurt to stock up on warm bodies.
Throw enough junk at the wall, something might stick.
If you Twitter, and have been diagnosed as swine-flu free, you can follow me at @Bharks.
Earlier, Craig wrote about the latest in the Mets’ search for a new general manager. Their list has been pared down to three candidates: Chaim Bloom (Rays senior VP of baseball operations), Doug Melvin (Brewers senior advisor), and agent Brodie Van Wagenen (of Creative Artists Agency).
It’s a diverse list, for sure, which makes one wonder what process allowed them to arrive at these final three candidates. Bloom is new school, Melvin is older-school, and Van Wagenen is… just inexperienced. Van Wagenen in particular is an interesting candidate as he has spent years advocating on his clients’ behalf. As a GM, he would do the exact opposite: he would try to take advantage of his players whenever possible, like every other GM in baseball does (e.g. manipulating service time).
Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, agent Scott Boras thinks there would be a conflict of interest if an agent were to become a GM. Boras, in fact, says he has turned down opportunities to lead front offices. But there is no verbiage saying that an agent must divest himself of his business interests before taking a job in a front office. Dave Stewart and Jeff Moorad are two examples of agents who later went onto the ownership side of the business. Stewart, in fact, moved into the front office after retiring and held various roles in with various organizations until he started Sports Management Partners (renamed Stewart Management Partners). He transferred control of the agency to Dave Henderson before he joined the Diamondbacks’ front office near the end of the 2014 season.
Ownership and labor are in constant conflict, even when things seem peaceful. Ownership wants to extract as much labor as possible as cheaply as possible. Labor wants to be paid for their work as much as possible. Their goals contradict each other and yet they need each other. While not required, usually being deeply on one side or the other — as agents and GM’s are — speaks to one’s personal ethos about the eternal tug-of-war. That Van Wagenen is so eager to switch sides speaks, perhaps, to opportunism. I would be, at minimum, unsettled if I were a client of Wan Wagenen’s at CAA. How might he use the sensitive information he was privy to as an agent to his advantage as a GM?
We have seen the analytics wave take over front offices around baseball. As ownership looks for ever more ways to pocket more cash, Van Wagenen’s candidacy may signal an upcoming wave of agents transitioning into front office roles. Hopefully that doesn’t become the case. There may be no one better equipped to take advantage of labor than someone experienced on that side of the battlefield.