By Jim Callis
July 30, 2005
The Padres had completed trades for Phil Nevin twice before, only to have him veto moves that would have sent him to the Reds for Ken Griffey Jr. and to the Orioles for Sidney Ponson. The Rangers regretted signing Chan Ho Park to a five-year, $65 million contract shortly after he began pitching for them in 2002. On Saturday, both clubs finally jettisoned their unwanted players by sending them to each other.
Texas also sent cash to San Diego to help cover the difference in the salaries remaining for Nevin and Park, but reportedly will save $1 million in the deal. Nevin is making $9 million this year and $10 million in 2006 as his four-year, $34 million contract comes to an end. Park had $13 million salaries both this year and next.
Nevin, 34, is in the midst of easily his worst season since he became a big league regular in 1999, hitting .256/.301/.399 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 73 games. He had produced for power and average since coming to San Diego six years ago, but his bat seemingly has slowed this year. Originally a third baseman, he has better reactions and arm strength than most first basemen, and he can catch in a pinch. He’s a below-average runner. The Rangers plan on DHing Nevin against lefthanders and working him into the lineup against righties in a variety of positions. He’s a career .276/.347/.479 hitter with 183 homers and 667 RBIs in 1,059 games.
Park, a 32-year-old righthander, was a disaster in Texas, going 22-23, 5.78 in 68 starts after posting a 80-54, 3.80 mark with the Dodgers. For the first time as a Ranger he didn’t spend any time on the disabled list this year, but he continued to pitch poorly, going 8-5, 5.66 in 20 starts. He had an 80-54 strikeout-walk ratio in 110 innings, while opponents battered him for a .299 average and eight homers. Park had a fastball that could reach 95 mph and a sharp curveball when he was with Los Angeles, but his stuff deteriorated into mediocrity almost as soon as he became a Ranger. Owner of a lifetime 102-77, 4.29 record, Park will enter a struggling San Diego rotation.