Vicente Padilla on uncertain role: “It’s all the same, no? You’re just throwing a ball”

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Last year the Dodgers surprisingly tabbed Vicente Padilla as their Opening Day starter, but this year he’s not even slated for a spot in the rotation after re-signing for $2 million in guaranteed money.

Padilla can also earn a ton of money in incentives, as his contract includes up to $8 million in bonuses tied to starting and $6.8 million in bonuses tied to relieving. And as Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes, Padilla may end up filling just about every role on the pitching staff at some point.

Padilla has made a grand total of one relief appearance since 2001, but made it clear that he’s willing to pitch wherever and whenever:

If I start, I start. If I relieve, I relieve. It’s all the same, no? You’re just throwing a ball.

New manager Don Mattingly said that Padilla will work out with the starters early in camp before transitioning into a bullpen role as long as none of the five starters ahead of him on the depth chart have any injury issues. Padilla has had injury problems of his own, missing much of last season with a strained forearm and bulging disk in his back, but when healthy has posted a 4.49 ERA in 70 starts during the past three seasons.

He’d be the third starter on a lot of teams, which speaks to the Dodgers’ pitching depth after re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and Ted Lilly and adding free agents Jon Garland and Matt Guerrier.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.