According to MLB Trade Rumors, via Francisco Jarquín Soto of the Nicaraguan paper El Nuevo Diario, the Red Sox will meet with pitcher Vicente Padilla so that team doctors can check in on his health status. Padilla, who missed almost all of 2011 recovering from elbow surgery and then neck surgery -- a microdisectomy, if you want to be specific -- is likely a low-cost option with some high rewards, assuming his body is ready to cooperate.
Padilla isn't the best starter out there, by any means, but a healthy Padilla is a solid pitcher. Since 2009, he owns a 98 ERA+, 6.8 strikeouts per nine, and a K/BB ratio of 2.3. That's in just 251 innings, due to the surgery problems cited above, but given the cost of acquiring him at this late stage, the potential production is worth the risk.
It's not clear at this stage what Padilla's role would be were Boston to sign him, but given his experience (and success) in the bullpen, combined with his mostly starter-oriented career, it's easy to envision him as the 2012 version of last year's Alfredo Aceves lottery ticket.
He could start if they need him to. He could also relieve. Or he could perform the kind of role discussed yesterday in regards to Aaron Cook, combining with Daniel Bard in a tandem starter role in order to lighten the former reliever's load in his transition to the rotation. There is room on the roster somewhere for an arm like Padilla's, especially with reports coming out of Nicaragua that his neck is pain-free, and his fastball is in the mid-90s.
Update 4:48 pm: Jon Heyman says the Red Sox and Padilla are "moving toward a deal", so it sounds like his body checked out. I do wonder if they figured out why he sweats so much, though. He's the Red Sox' answer to Freddy Garcia, that's for sure.