Vicente Padilla exists in a small sliver of the pitching population of baseball: the sustained mediocre. He’s never good enough to, well, be considered good. He’s never bad enough to be moved to the bullpen or demoted. He’s just there.
Well, he was there, anyway. Texas, apparently tired of paying $12 million a year for a steaming plate of below average, designated the pitcher for assignment today. And they seem to be really, really happy about it.
Per the STAR-TELEGRAM:
Padilla was designated for assignment before the opening game of a critical series against first-place Los Angeles, a move that was deemed necessary after his last start.
Aw. His teammates have to be upset, right?
He was portrayed as a bad teammate by general manager Jon Daniels, who announced the move about three hours before first pitch, and the players who shared the same clubhouse with Padilla fully endorsed the decision.
“About time,” said outfielder Marlon Byrd, who also played with Padilla in Philadelphia. “It’s absolutely a positive for this team. We have to get rid of the negatives to make a positive, and I believe this is a huge positive for this team.”
Oh, ouch. Although, really, there’s not many other people in the league who probably gave their teammates the swine’s flu. That couldn’t have helped.
But Marlon Byrd? Who’s Marlon Byrd? Don’t the Rangers need some better ammo than some random utility player in the clubhouse?
Rangers brass didn’t want that type of influence around young players anymore. Some were fearful that top prospect Neftali Feliz might be negatively affected with Padilla in the clubhouse.
“You have to be a good teammate,” Byrd said. “You have to help teach younger guys the right things. He wasn’t a positive influence on the young guys. You started questioning his character and about how much he cared.”
Okay, we get it. Padilla wasn’t popular and he might have given rookies bad advice on things like “hustling” and “caring” and “washing your hands after taking a dook.” There’s no need to rub–
As word spread throughout the clubhouse, Rangers players showed Daniels their approval. Handshakes were exchanged, and Ian Kinsler went so far as to say, “Congrats.”
That’s cold-hearted. Though in the players’ defense, when a real butthole of a person gets their comeuppance in swift, decisive fashion, there’s little more satisfying than that.
So the Rangers have 10 days to trade or release the pitcher, who’s 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA. Would anyone want him? 8-6 and 4.92 isn’t terrible. It’s just… there.