The Friar Shuffle
Joe Randa is headed to the Padres, and that may only be the beginning. With the NL West leaders stumbling and their division advantage shrinking, bringing in the veteran third baseman meant the demotion of a young third baseman and perhaps the pending departure of a veteran first baseman.
Reports first surfaced in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Saturday morning that Phil Nevin could be headed from San Diego to Baltimore for Sidney Ponson. OK, but don’t bank on Nevin waiving his limited no-trade provision, which includes the Orioles. Remember, he invoked his right before to nix a Ken Griffey Jr. swap. He might waive it this time, just don’t bank on it.
What this makes clear is that the Padres are motivated to move Nevin while they can — he’ll earn full 10-and-5 rights early next season, and they have other options at first in Xavier Nady and Ryan Klesko. Taking on Ponson is a heavy price to pay, though, and you’d think the Padres might have other takers for Nevin among the 21 teams not on Nevin’s no-trade list. Guess at the very least this puts Nevin on the market, no?
The Randa acquisition — even if he’s relatively cheap, especially for his production — does add about $1 million to the 2005 payroll. Padres owner John Moores has essentially said the club will have to move money to add money, so the Nevin rumors make some sense. Hmmm, and the difference in the contracts for Nevin and Ponson almost hit exactly what extra is picked up with Randa’s arrival. Hmmm.
Anyway, with this move that pushes Sean Burroughs to the Minors, the Padres don’t look like they’ll be standing pat while clinging to the division lead and the .500 mark at the same time. Looks like San Diego’s getting ready for some roster rumbling.