When the Red Sox signed Vicente Padilla they did so in part because he’s capable of starting or relieving depending on how Daniel Bard’s attempted move into the rotation and the rest of the pitching staff shake out. However, it’s clear now that Padilla wants to be a starter.
In fact, during an appearance on WEEI in Boston this morning the veteran right-hander said he signed with the Red Sox because “this is a great opportunity to be a starter” and “I like starting … I’ve started for a long time.”
He’s right about that, as Padilla hasn’t made double-digit relief appearances in a season since 2001, but the Dodgers were using him as a reliever prior to neck surgery last season. Apparently he never liked that role and chose the Red Sox specifically because “other teams needed me as a reliever.”
He may soon find out that the Red Sox need, or at least want, him as a reliever too, but in the meantime Padilla will compete for a rotation spot while trying to prove he’s healthy at age 34. He’ll first have to make the team, period, to collect the $1.5 million roster incentive on his minor-league contract.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.