By Jim Callis
July 31, 2004
A day after trading Brad Penny, the Marlins found a replacement for their rotation. Florida obtained Ismael Valdez from the Padres on Saturday for low Class A righthander Travis Chick.
Valdez, a 31-year-old righthander, signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with San Diego as a free agent in January. His 9-6 record in 23 games (20 starts) is very misleading, because he has a 5.53 ERA and opponents have battered him for a .303 average and 21 homers. His 37-31 strikeout-walk ratio in 114 innings is another indication that he’s not fooling anyone with his high-80s sinker, slider and changeup. He owns a big league record of 97-100, 4.04 in 300 games.
Chick, 20, is enjoying his best season since signing as a 14th-round pick out of a Texas high school in 2002. Armed with a low-90s fastball and a promising slider, he has gone 6-3, 3.95 in 26 games (nine starts) at low Class A Greensboro. Chick has a 108-26 K-BB ratio in 84 innings and has limited hitters to a .223 average and 10 homers. He has gone 10-7, 4.15 in 51 career appearances in the minors.