Hoffman cites 'chaos' as possible result of Padres' deals
SAN DIEGO -- Padres fans really are going to need scorecards. The players may very well need name tags in an ever-changing clubhouse.
Stagnant since the All-Star break, the two-time defending NL West champions made three deals before Tuesday's deadline, acquiring slumping infielder Morgan Ensberg from the Houston, outfielder-infielder Rob Mackowiak from the Chicago White Sox and reliever Wilfredo Ledezma from Atlanta.
"It doesn't really serve a purpose, other than there's chaos in the clubhouse, and that's not a good thing, either,'' Hoffman said.
"Today's kind of caught a lot of people off guard,'' Hoffman said. "There's a bit of scrambling around, not really knowing what happened or why. I think it forces you to just kind of keep your head down and focus on what you can do to improve the club personally.''
Ensberg, Mackowiak and Ledezma are expected to report Wednesday, which means the Padres will have to make three corresponding moves to clear spots on the 25-man roster.
"There's only so many spots,'' Hoffman said. "It's musical chairs, and you better get a chair.''
The Padres cleared one spot after a 4-0 loss to Arizona, releasing reserve outfielder Jose Cruz Jr., who was hitting just .234. Cruz played well earlier in the season, when he platooned with left fielder Terrmel Sledge and filled in when right fielder Brian Giles was hurt. But his playing time dwindled from late June on, after Giles returned and the Padres acquired Milton Bradley. The Padres are carrying 13 pitchers, so the other two moves likely will come from that group.
Towers said the acquisition of Ensberg and Mackowiak will strengthen the bench, while Ledezma can serve as a swingman, either in middle relief or as a starter.
The accessions cost the Padres little in terms of prospects, and the team picked up a little more than $2 million in salary.
San Diego, in the thick of the NL West and wild-card races, completed the trades shortly before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline for making deals without waivers.
The Astros sent Ensberg and cash considerations to the Padres for a player to be named or cash. The White Sox traded Mackowiak to San Diego for pitcher Jon Link. The Braves traded Ledezma and minor league pitcher Will Startup for reliever Royce Ring, who recently was optioned to Triple-A Portland. The Braves assigned him to Triple-A Richmond.
The Padres have made numerous changes in a matter of days, starting with the Linebrink trade and including the acquisition of outfielder Scott Hairston on Friday.
"I'm extremely disappointed,'' Mackowiak said before the White Sox played the Yankees in New York. "It hurts to go from the team you grew up watching and idolized as a kid.''
Mackowiak, who has played left field, right field, first base and third base this season, said he expects to be a utilityman with San Diego. He knows a few players on the Padres and "they told me to take all [of my] gloves,'' he said.
The Mackowiak deal was the only move made by Chicago, which some thought also might deal outfielder Jermaine Dye.
"All in all it was not the day that we had hoped,'' White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said.
The 33-year-old Dye, one of the top offensive players available at the deadline, said he was glad to still be with Chicago.
"We have a good nucleus here,'' said Dye, who can become a free agent after the season.
Ensberg, an All-Star in 2005 when he helped the Astros reach the World Series, has not been the same caliber player since tearing a tendon in his right shoulder diving for a foul ball on June 9, 2006.
The 31-year-old Ensberg was hitting .232 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 85 games. Houston is responsible for the remainder of Ensberg's $4.35 million salary this season.
The Astros designated Ensberg for assignment on Sunday, giving them 10 days to either trade him, waive him or send him to the minors. A Southern California native, Ensberg recently bought a house near San Diego.
"I do think the change of scenery is going to help him,'' Astros general manager Tim Purpura said. "This is a player with a lot of talent.
"Being at the trade deadline, players are certainly in demand and this is the kind of time where you can take a gamble on a player who is maybe not performing so well.''
Ensberg hit a career-low .235 with 58 RBIs last year. In 2005, he batted .283 with 36 home runs and 101 RBIs. His 105 career home runs rank second in Astros history for third basemen.
The 31-year-old Mackowiak hit .278 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 85 games with the White Sox this season. He is a career .264 hitter with 63 homers and 280 RBIs in seven major league seasons with Pittsburgh and the White Sox.
Ledezma started the season with Detroit, then was traded to Atlanta. The 26-year-old lefty was 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in 12 games for the Braves and designated for assignment Sunday. Startup, a 23-year-old lefty, was in his third season in the minors.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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JULY 31 TRADE DEADLINE
The Braves made the biggest splash before Major League Baseball's non-waiver trading deadline, acquiring switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira and hard-throwing reliever Octavio Dotel. The Red Sox also bolstered their bullpen with Eric Gagne.
• Braves get Teixeira, Dotel
• Red Sox deal for Gagne
• Giants swap Morris for Pirates rookie Davis
• Dodgers send Betemit to Yanks for Proctor
• Padres acquire Ensberg, Mackowiak
• Red Sox deal Pineiro to Cards
• Phils get reliever Mateo from Mariners
• Mets fill second base void with Twins' Castillo
• Phillies deal for righty Lohse from Reds
In the past week
• Astros deal Wheeler to Rays for Wigginton
• Reds get Cantu from Rays
• Phils get Iguchi from White Sox
• Rangers deal Lofton to Indians
• Padres get Hairston from D-backs
• Brewers get Linebrink from Padres
• Stark: Assessing the deadline deals
• Stark Market
• Trade scorecard
• Olney: Rangers did well with haul
• Fantasy: Deadline winners, losers
• Baseball America analysis
• Nelson: Trade can be hard on family
• Vote: Winners and losers?