Vicente Padilla designated for assignment.

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Wednesday night, after Vicente Padilla’s latest questionable
display, including a moment when the cameras caught him in the dugout laughing
and mimicking home plate umpire Bob Davidson’s demonstrative warning to both clubs
that the next purpose pitch would result in an ejection, I posted this on


“For a team that has
forever been thin on starting pitching, there’s simply no question that TX will
cut Vinny Padilla loose at season’s end”


Well, I was wrong.  He’ll
be long gone before this season is over. 
For all intents and purposes, he’s gone now.


You can dispense with the baseball terminology.  Vicente Padilla was fired.


Yeah, Texas
has 10 days to trade the righthander, release him, or get him through waivers
and outright his contract to the minor leagues. 
Translation, in this case: He’ll be released.


Jon Daniels did a number of interviews yesterday shortly
after the move, talking about 25 guys pulling together, a team mentality, “addition
by subtraction.”  It was another Jimmy
Johnson moment for Daniels, not only in the boldness of the decision but in the
positive message it sends to the players this organization is counting on.


It’s a potentially galvanizing moment.


Said the Rangers’ emotional leader, Marlon Byrd: “It’s about
time.  When a player disrupts a team,
eventually there is going to come a time when management has enough.  They have seen enough.  We are fighting for a playoff spot.  The last thing we need in the clubhouse is a
distraction like that.  There are 25 guys
in this clubhouse who are behind management on this.  They showed that they are serious.  They did their job.  That just serves as assurance that they are
doing the right thing here.”


It’s sad from the standpoint that Padilla is a monster
talent, but one who squanders that talent with a renegade mentality and complete
lack of interest in what it means to be a teammate.


The interesting thing about the move is that Texas will owe Padilla the
remaining $4 million on his 2009 deal (unless the highly unlikely occurs and
Padilla is either claimed off waivers or traded for by another club in the next
week and a half) even though he’s finished as a Ranger.  The club was obviously going to buy out his $12
million option for 2010 for $1.75 million, but the fact that ties are being cut
now is a clear signal that management still believes in 2009 (and in the deleterious
impact that Padilla’s presence for the next two months could have had on the
club’s young players).  In a different
way, but not all that different, it’s comparable to a trade deadline
acquisition, a statement from front office to clubhouse that the organization believes
in its players.


Addition by subtraction, as Daniels put it.


Thanks to the solid, if unexpected, contributions of
pitchers like Tommy Hunter and Dustin Nippert, each of whom makes 1/30th
of what Padilla earns this season, this move was possible without the fear that
a dependable arm was being removed in favor of a question mark as the final
third of the season gets rolling. 


Still, even if the move was made possible, it still took
some guts to make, and the approval seems to be universal, among fans and among
media and, without question, among Padilla’s former teammates.





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(c) Jamey Newberg



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