ESPN.com is reporting the Phillies have traded Vicente Padilla to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later.
Sources told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that the deal is contingent on Padilla passing a physical exam with the Rangers. A later report on Comcast Daily News Live indicated the exam was scheduled for today.
For all his faults, Vicente was one of my favorites. Dreams that his electric fastball could one day save the bullpen are out the door as the Phillies have decided to part ways with the enigmatic pitcher.
During his stay, Padilla had shown flashes of brilliance and beligerence. There's no denying his stuff; when it clicked, his fastball might have been the best pitch in the entire organization. In the post-Schilling era, no pitcher had looked more dominant at times than Padilla.
For all the talent, there was lots of baggage. Obviously, it became too much to take, otherwise the Phillies wouldn't subtract from an area of need. Padilla was facing arbitration and was expected to command around $4 million.
It would have been a tough process to be sure. The introverted right-hander didn't talk to the press, rarely communicated with teammates and frequently bumped heads with the manager. He even cut ties with La Prensa, the national newspaper of Nicaragua, where they proudly hail him as the nation's best ball player since Dennis Martinez.
Many of his problems came in the offseason. Returning home to Nicaragua in October, he was reportedly involved in two off-season automobile accidents in past three years, one resulting in a fatality. Allegations of alcohol abuse stem as far back as his days with Arizona, allegations he hasn't personally denied.
On the mound, he's a pitcher with all the right tools but wrong head, known to blast through 2 2-3 innings, walk the pitcher and give up a home run to the next batter.
At the plate, he was pure comedy. He has no approach to hitting whatsoever, so he'll be happy to see the DH rule in effect.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are getting quite a weapon for a player to be named. Get this: The Rangers' staff is so bad, Padilla could be their No. 2 starter. In this day and age, when the Esteban Loaizas of the world are getting $21 million for 3 years, how does this happen? Fans are quick to forget that Padilla was the team's best pitcher for about a month just this past season. He was hurt all through spring training, missed time at the beginning and stank early, but turned it around midseason to give them a significant boost.
Granted, he's not Cy Young, but the team doesn't have a proven arm to replace him as yet, and free agent options are running out. No word yet on the PTBNL, so I'm eagerly awaiting the other shoe to drop, because at the moment, it's difficult to agree with this call.
Vaya con dios, Vicente. What a long, strange trip it's been.