Rangers acquire Eaton; Millwood makes visit
The Texas Rangers have helped address their pitching woes by reaching agreement to acquire San Diego Padres right-handed pitchers Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka and minor league prospect Billy Killian in exchange for right-handed pitcher Chris Young, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder Terrmel Sledge, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick has confirmed.
San Diego Padres
The Rangers and Padres had been discussing a deal for Eaton for several weeks, but Texas was reluctant to part with young catcher Gerald Laird, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Free-agent right-hander Kevin Millwood, whose 2.86 ERA for Cleveland this year led the AL, and his agent, Scott Boras, met with Rangers officials in Texas on Tuesday. Millwood rejected a salary arbitration offer from the Indians on Monday night, but could still re-sign with Cleveland through Jan. 8.
While officials from both clubs said that the trade will be finalized after the players involved pass physicals, the process could be delayed slightly because Otsuka is currently in Japan.
The main motivation for the Padres to deal Eaton was because they were far apart in negotiations on a new multi-year contract, and Eaton will enter the final year of his current deal in '06, Crasnick reports.
Eaton and his agent, Jim Lindell, were seeking a three-year, $27 million deal, while the Padres had floated an offer of three years and $17 million.
Eaton told ESPN.com last week that he was growing impatient over the Padres' unwillingness to "extend a hand" in contract talks.
"I feel like I've always been on the outside of their plans, and that's frustrating," Eaton said. "I feel like I'm being put off and put off, and that's not something anybody likes to have done to them."
In the aftermath of the trade, San Diego's starting rotation currently consists of Jake Peavy, Young, Woody Williams, Chan Ho Park and youngsters Clay Hensley and Tim Stauffer. The Padres have also been in talks with free agents Brett Tomko and Pedro Astacio.
The addition of Sledge and Gonzalez could make outfielder Dave Roberts expendable in a trade. Roberts, San Diego's center fielder last season, lost his center field job when the Padres acquired Mike Cameron from the New York Mets.
Eaton, 28, was 11-5 with San Diego last year, but pitched only 128 2/3 innings due to a middle finger strain.
Otsuka, 33, was 2-8 last season with a 3.59 ERA, striking out 60 batters in 63 2/3 innings. The Rangers, while still on the market for more bullpen arms, will likely slide Otsuka into a setup role.
Killian, 19, was San Diego's third-round pick in the 2004 draft. He hit .263 with no homers and 14 RBI in 152 at-bats in rookie ball last season.
Young tied a Rangers' rookie record by recording 12 wins last season, but stuggled later in the season with fatigue.
Gonzalez, who was the first overall pick by the Florida Marlins in the 2000 draft, batted .227 in 150 at bats for the Rangers last season. With Mark Teixeira entrenched at first base already, Gonzalez did not have much opportunity in Texas.
Sledge was acquired by the Rangers earlier in the month from the Washington Nationals.