Padres sending Nevin in exchange for Park
The deal was tentatively agreed to Friday and needed approval from the commissioner's office because it involves the Rangers sending cash to San Diego to help offset the money remaining on the $65 million, five-year contract Park signed with Texas before the 2002 season.
"I'm going to go in and say goodbye to my teammates and start packing and get my stuff ready to go to Toronto," Nevin said Friday. "I'm excited. I honestly am. It's an opportunity to play, it's a great organization, there's some great people there that I do know from a long time ago. I'm just excited to get over there."
Nevin blocked a proposed trade to Baltimore for pitcher Sidney Ponson on Monday. But the slugger's limited no-trade clause did not include the right to refuse a deal to Texas.
Nevin, who mostly played first base for the Padres the past two years, was hitting .256 with nine homers and 47 RBIs. He probably will get a chance to be the regular designated hitter for the Rangers, who are in third place in the AL West, 7½ games behind the first-place Angels.
Texas also began the day four games back in the wild-card chase.
"This trade gives us an experienced right-handed bat and adds a versatile piece to our lineup," Rangers general manager John Hart said.
Park is 8-5 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 starts this season. Since signing his big deal three years ago to become the Rangers' No. 1 starter, the 32-year-old right-hander is 22-23 in 68 starts. He has been on the disabled list five times, plagued primarily by back problems.
"He adds depth to our pitching staff, and is now returning to a division where he has enjoyed great success," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said.
John Wasdin started for Texas on Friday night instead of Park.
Nevin is making $9 million this year, is due $10 million next year and a deferred signing bonus of $2 million in 2007.
Nevin was the No. 1 pick in the 1992 amateur draft, by Houston, but didn't stick with any team for long until the Padres acquired him just before the 1999 season as a backup catcher. He won the starting job at third base later that season, and in 2001 had a career year with a .306 average, 41 homers and 126 RBIs.
Injuries have kept him from replicating those numbers, and management and fans wearied of his quick temper.
Nevin lost his starting job at first base after nixing the trade to Baltimore, but he ended up catching two of three games against St. Louis. He received a warm ovation when he was introduced Tuesday night, but was booed as he continued to struggle at the plate.
"Sometimes a change in scenery is good, sometimes time runs out in a certain spot," Nevin said. "It did for me here. There's no animosity or anger toward anything. It's been an unbelievable ride here, obviously something I'll never forget. There'll be some great memories."
Nevin said his only disappointment, besides being booed this week, was not winning a division title. But he said he expects the Padres to hold onto their lead in the weak NL West. Despite losing 32 of their last 50 games, they still led Arizona by two games.
"Hopefully, this team will start winning and they don't have anybody else to boo and it'll be smooth sailing in San Diego for a while," Nevin said.
Nevin hit 156 homers in seven seasons with San Diego, seven shy of Nate Colbert's franchise record of 163.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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