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Dodgers sign free agent Vicente Padilla to one-year deal

The right-hander will get $4 million plus a $1-million signing bonus and could earn another $1 million in incentives. He was 4-0 for L.A. in the final stretch of the regular season.

January 22, 2010|By Dylan Hernandez

Vicente Padilla stayed out of trouble in the two-plus months he spent with the Dodgers last year, but can the reputed bad boy remain a model citizen for an entire season?

Based on the way Padilla behaved during his stint with the Dodgers, General Manager Ned Colletti said he thinks so, which was why he spent $5.025 million to re-sign the erratic but electric-armed 32-year-old to a one-year deal.

"As far as his attitude and approach, we saw nothing that would indicate there would be any problems in the future," Colletti said.

Padilla will earn a base salary of $4.025 million this year and receive a $1-million signing bonus in 2011. He can earn an additional $1 million in incentives based on innings pitched.

The price tag was significantly less than the $16 million the Angels will pay over the next two years for Joel Pineiro, another pitcher represented by the Wasserman Media Group and who also was pursued by the Dodgers. Despite that, Colletti said that it was unlikely the Dodgers would be able to sign another starting pitcher and that they would spend the rest of the off-season focused on bolstering their bench.

With the exception of potential second base starter Jamey Carroll, all of the current candidates to make the Dodgers' opening-day roster as reserves are either players on minor league contracts or prospects who would make around the major league minimum salary of $400,000. Colletti said the free agents the Dodgers are looking to sign to be bench players are players who would merit major league deals.

Padilla figures to be the third or fourth starter in the Dodgers' rotation, as he will enter the year with a career record of 98-85 with a 4.33 earned-run average over 11 seasons. The quality of his arm has never been in question, as several scouts remarked that he had the best stuff on the Dodgers' staff last season.

Released by Texas in August, Padilla signed with the Dodgers later in the month and was 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA down the final stretch of the regular season.

Padilla had the Dodgers' two most dominating pitching performances of the postseason, tossing seven shutout innings in the series-clinching victory over St. Louis in the opening round and limiting Philadelphia to one run over 7 1/3 innings in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. However, Padilla ended the season with an awful performance in Game 5 against the Phillies, who pounded the right-hander for three runs in six innings and eliminated the Dodgers.

Asked at the end of the season if he would like to re-sign with the Dodgers, Padilla said he would, adding, "They gave me an opportunity."

When Padilla was picked up by the Dodgers, he was best known as a headhunter whose departure from Texas was celebrated by some of his former teammates.

Padilla made headlines again in November when he was shot in his leg by his bodyguard at a shooting range in his native Nicaragua, but Colletti said he was not alarmed by the report.

"I know enough to know it was an accident," Colletti said.

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