Phillies deal Padilla to Rangers

Phillies deal righty Padilla to Rangers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies traded inconsistent starting pitcher Vicente Padilla to the Rangers for a player to be named, saving themselves a decision on whether to offer him salary arbitration.

In return, Philadelphia receives a choice of either a Minor League hitter or a Major League pitcher, though his identity might not be known until early next week. A baseball source said the pitcher was likely 27-year-old righty Ricardo Rodriguez, who is 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA in a four-year career with Cleveland and Texas. The minor leaguer is believed to be an infield prospect.

The enigmatic right-hander, who went 9-12 with a 4.71 ERA in 27 starts in 2005, heads to a Rangers team in need of starting pitching. There he will be reunited with Buck Showalter, who managed him in Arizona.

Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said the deal was motivated by a desired change of scenery.

"It might do Vicente some good," Gillick said. "Rather than go another season, we felt it would probably be best if he moved on. It wouldn't surprise me if he went to Texas and won quite a few ballgames, but we didn't think it was going to happen here."

A second bout with right elbow tendinitis delayed Padilla's first start until April 19, and he struggled for the first three months of 2005. He found his groove in July and August -- posting a 1.94 ERA over a nine-start stretch -- then faltered again in September.

Money might have been another motivating factor. Padilla, 28, earned $3.2 million in 2005 and stood to cross the $4 million barrier through arbitration. Despite the rising cost of starting pitching -- considering the recent deals for Kenny Rogers, Esteban Loaiza and Paul Byrd -- the Phillies didn't feel Padilla represented an acceptable alternative.

His departure leaves Jon Lieber, Brett Myers and Cory Lidle as the only established starters in the rotation. Gavin Floyd, Rob Tejeda and Eude Brito will enter Spring Training competing for the final two spots, though things could change if Gillick pulls off another deal.

Ryan Madson, a starter in the Minors who spent the past two seasons in the bullpen, also looms as a potential starter, though Gillick said anything can happen.

"That's still up in the air," he said. "It depends on what we do between now and Spring Training."

Padilla was the remaining piece of the four-for-one trade on July, 26 2000, that sent Curt Schilling to Arizona. The Phillies also received Travis Lee, Omar Daal and Nelson Figueroa in the deal.

In 5 1/2 seasons with the Phillies, Padilla posted a 49-45 record. His best season came in 2002, when he went 14-11 with a 3.28 ERA, and made the National League All-Star team. He followed that by going 14-12 with a 3.62 ERA in 2003. Padilla fell off after that, suffering through injuries and inconsistency over the next two seasons.

This is Gillick's third trade since taking over as Philadelphia's general manager. Last month, he traded popular first baseman Jim Thome and cash to the White Sox for Aaron Rowand, Giovany Gonzalez and Daniel Haigwood, and last week acquired pitcher Chris Booker from Detroit. Gillick also signed pitchers Tom Gordon and Julio Santana, and hitters Abraham Nunez and Sal Fasano.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.