Bill Conlin in today’s Daily News: "Vicente Padilla. Enciéndase para arriba. Joe Kerrigan predicted you would be a closer sooner than later and sooner just showed up. Give us a ninth inning worth of nasty fastballs. Lay off winter ball. The Captain wound up flipping a coin on you, so rent don't buy."
Beerleaguer: I can’t believe I flaked on this one. This is an idea worth exploring, and I talked about it earlier in the year.
Many officials in the Phils' organization believe Padilla could be a stellar closer. Short duty gives him an avenue to launch those live fastballs without losing focus. Pitch him four or five outs some nights. Why not?
It would be an economic move, too. If the Phils wave goodbye to Billy Wagner – a move I would have done at the trade deadline, and one I endorse this offseason - they have the option to bring back Ugueth Urbina on the promise he would close games. Urbina isn’t the ideal reliever for Citizen’s Bank Park, so at his first failure, move Padilla back there and keep Urbina as a spare arm or shop him midseason. Relief pitching is always in demand.
The cost of having Padilla and Urbina at the back end of the pen would be less than what Wagner alone wants, and would also be short-term. A three-year deal, like the one he wants, would take him through 2008. Come on, now. That's stupid.
This is a strategy worth considering. How about using that money to invest in better starters so the bullpen isn't toast by September? Some better management wouldn't hurt either. And no more old hacks like Tim Worrell and Terry Adams. I'd take my chances on Aquilino Lopez and Eude Brito.
I don’t believe the Phillies can afford anything better, but instinct tells me Padilla would be superior than what the Braves, Mets and Marlins will have going forward into next season.