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Dodgers surprisingly tab Padilla for Opening Day

Mar 25, 2010, 1:42 PM EDT

MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers will soon name Vicente Padilla their Opening Day starter, which is a surprise to say the least given that the rotation also includes young studs Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley.
Padilla went 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA down the stretch for the Dodgers last season, but before that he was released by the Rangers after posting a 4.92 ERA in 147 innings. Even with his nice late-season run in Los Angeles included Padilla hasn’t had an ERA below 4.40 since way back in 2003, when he was a 25-year-old with the Phillies.
For comparison the 22-year-old Kershaw has a 3.36 ERA and 285 strikeouts in 279 career innings, while the 25-year-old Billingsley has a 3.55 ERA and 580 strikeouts in 634 career innings. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter, since everyone in the rotation will start 32-34 games if they remain healthy, but this sure seems like rewarding a mediocre veteran just for being a mediocre veteran.
Hiroki Kuroda is locked in as the Dodgers’ fourth starter, but the final rotation spot hasn’t been decided yet as Ramon Ortiz, Eric Stults, Russ Ortiz, Carlos Monasterios, and Charlie Haeger all battle for the gig. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers are “shopping” Stults, however, which would seemingly indicate that he’s a long shot.

  1. Old Gator - Mar 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    I love that photo of Padilla. He’s posed like Bela Lugosi in Plan Nine from Outer Space.

  2. The Common Man - Mar 25, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Jeez, 13 more and we’ll have to elect him into the Hall of Fame.

  3. scatterbrian - Mar 25, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Not really a big deal. The Dodgers start the year with six on the road against Pittsburgh and Florida, and sets them up to go 1-2-3 against the D’Backs in their home-opening series.

  4. Big Fan - Mar 25, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Joe Torre always ALWAYS goes with the veteran.

  5. D-Luxxx - Mar 25, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    C’mon Aaron! ERA? Give me the good stuff, why should they REALLY not start this guy.

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