Padres trade Burroughs to Rays for Brazelton

Updated: December 7, 2005, 11:52 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Sean Burroughs had a charmed rise through baseball's ranks, until he couldn't hit home runs.

Dewon Brazelton

Sean Burroughs

The third baseman, the son of 1974 AL MVP Jeff Burroughs, was traded from San Diego to Tampa Bay on Wednesday for right-hander Dewon Brazelton, who went AWOL for three weeks after being demoted.

Burroughs and Brazelton are both former first-round draft picks who've struggled. Burroughs was the ninth selection overall in the 1998 amateur draft, and Brazelton was taken with the third pick in 2001.

"This is a classic change-of-scenery trade involving two former No. 1 draft picks that are still young players with tremendous upsides," Devil Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.

The 25-year-old Burroughs has a .282 career average in four major league seasons but slumped badly this year and has just 11 career homers. He was sent to the minor leagues on July 23 to work on his swing; he came back 5½ weeks later and finished with a .250 average, one homer and 17 RBI.

Burroughs was on a boat in the South Pacific on Wednesday and not reachable for comment, agent Arn Tellem said.

Joe Randa, obtained from Cincinnati on the same day Burroughs was demoted, finished the season as San Diego's starting third baseman. Vinny Castilla will play third base for the Padres this year after being acquired from Washington on Nov. 3.

Burroughs starred in the Little League World Series in the early 1990s and helped the United States win the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

The Padres thought so highly of him as a rookie in 2002 that they made room for him at third base by moving Phil Nevin to first, and Ryan Klesko from first to right field.

But his first year was interrupted by injury, a slump and a demotion to Triple-A, He returned later that season.

Brazelton, 25, was Tampa Bay's opening-day starter this season, going 1-8 with a 7.61 ERA in eight starts and 12 relief appearances. The 2004 winner of the Tony Conigliaro Award -- which goes to a player who overcomes adversity through spirit, determination and courage -- he struggled personally this season.

Brazelton disappeared for three weeks after being demoted to the minors in May and was put on major league baseball's restricted list. When he returned to the majors, he refused to publicly discuss his absence.

"We did our due diligence, but I don't really want to get into it," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said. "We did a background check. We'll bring him into town next week for a physical and to meet with him. We hope that maybe coming to the West Coast and the chance to be with a contending ballclub might be motivation.

"Sometimes with guys like him and Burroughs, there's much more pressure, being in the organization that spent a lot of money on them and made them No. 1 draft picks," Towers added. "If the performance isn't there, it becomes tough mentally for them."

Brazelton will pitch either out of the bullpen or in the back end of the starting rotation.

Brazelton has an 8-23 career record with a 5.98 ERA in 41 starts and 13 relief appearances during four big league seasons.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press