By Jim Callis
July 23, 2005
After waiting three years for Sean Burroughs’ bat to come around, the National League West-leading Padres decided they couldn’t waste any more time. On Saturday, they picked up a new third baseman, Joe Randa, from the Reds in exchange for a pair of minor league righthanders, Travis Chick and Justin Germano.
Randa, 35, isn’t spectacular but usually hits in the .280 range with 12-15 homers per year. That’s more production than San Diego has gotten out of Burroughs, a former first-round pick who excelled in the minors but hasn’t hit for any power in the majors. While Burroughs has slumped to .255/.327/.302 in 2005, Randa has hit .289/.356/.491 with 13 homers (three off his career high) and 48 RBIs in 92 games. His speed is below average, but Randa is a heady baserunner and a steady defender at the hot corner. Randa, who signed a one-year, $2.15 million deal with the Reds in December, will become a free agent again after the season. He has batted .286/.342/.429 with 115 homers and 691 RBIs in 1,375 career games.
Chick, 21, joined the Padres last July in a trade for Ismael Valdez. Originally signed by the Marlins as a 14th-round pick out of a Texas high school in 2002, Chick’s prospect status skyrocketed after the deal. At times he’ll show the full arsenal to be a big league starter, with a low-90s fastball, a hard slider and a changeup. But his command has regressed and he has struggled this year in Double-A, going 2-9, 5.27 in 19 starts at Double-A Mobile. He had a 92-40 strikeout-walk ratio in 97 innings, while opponents were batting .279 with 12 homers against him.
Germano, 22, has better feel but less stuff than Chick. A 13th-round pick out of a California high school in 2000, Germano throws strikes with a curveball (his best pitch), a changeup and an 87-89 mph fastball. When the Padres promoted him to the majors in 2004, he didn’t go after hitters as aggressively as he did in the minors, and went 1-2, 8.86 in seven appearances. He has regained his confidence at Triple-A Portland this year, going 7-6, 3.70 in 19 starts. He sported a 100-32 K-BB ratio in 112 innings and had limited hitters to a .259 average and 13 homers.
Besides netting them two more pitching prospects, the Randa trade also allows the Reds to give regular big league playing time to their best position prospect, third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion, who appeared in his third straight Futures Game earlier this month, hit .314/.388/.548 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 78 games at Triple-A Louisville.