Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Actual ESPN headline describing the execrable, yet-to-be-confirmed Phil Nevin-for-Chan Ho Park and a Brinks truck full of cash: "Rangers agree to take Nevin off Padres' hands".
The Padres maneuvered this trade, meandering through a (Lance) nixed trade with Baltimore for Sidney Ponson. One year into his contract they also tried to trade Nevin for Ken Griffey. Nevin vetoed that one as well. Griffey ended up losing more than half the next season due to injury.
Let's review: The Padres tried to trade him for an overpriced superstar, whose team had soured on. That failed. They tried to sign him for an overpriced pitcher, whose team had soured on. That failed. They finally traded him for the Jungian archetype for atrocious free agent contacts.
Chan Ho Park?!? He's a cautionary tale for GMs. He's a punchline for Stuart Scott and the SportsCenter clique. He's not a guy you try to acquire on a bet. You don't want him on your team, even if the Rangers swallow the remainder of his contract.
But the Padres were willing to acquire this staff albatross for Nevin.
Why did the Padres hate this guy that much?
It must be his on-field performance. He must have had done some Mo Vaughn-esque type of underachieving in San Diego, right?
Well, in Nevin's worst season with the Pod People, he had a 106 adjusted OPS. That's 6% better than the park-adjusted league average, not exceptional for a first baseman, but then again that season (2002) Nevin played third and had his season shortened by injury (playing just 107 games).
Nevin's next worst season (2003) in San Diego was an OPS just 21% better than the adjusted league average, and again, he missed significant time to injury (playing just 59 games). Actually, the worst thing that could be said about his time with the Padres was the often injuries (though just in these two seasons and at the start of 1999, his first with the Padres).
Nevin's best Padre season was 2001 in which his adjusted OPS was 58% better than average. Of course, that was right before he signed the big contract. But his average adjusted OPS as a Padre is 129, 29% better than average.
Then again, there is the instance when Nevin demurred to play right field in 2003. He should get some grief for turning down an assignmentright?like Bobby Abreu gets in Philly for turning down the leadoff spot and the center field job.
Well, this is a guy who came to San Diego as a catcher and was moved to third, a position he hadn't played with any regularity in two years so that 22-year-old, can't-miss prospect Ben Davis could catch. Davis was a bust.
He moved to first in 2002 after becoming an All-Star third baseman in order to accommodate 21-year-old, can't miss prospect Sean Burroughs. He moved to first and displaced All-Star first baseman Ryan Klesko. Burroughs was demoted mid-season, and Nevin and Klesko moved back to their previous positions.
In 2003, the Padres decided it was time to a) re-promote Burroughs and re-anoint him the future franchise player and b) swap Klesko and Nevin in the field. In spring training, Nevin injured his arm playing right field. He is supposed to miss the entire season, but returns midseason. The experiment is terminated after 29 games, and Nevin returns to first base.
Sheez, and I thought Marlon Byrd had been gaslighted by the Phils. The couldn't have screwed with this guy more unless they had used the fetus-frightening machine from "The Meaning of Life" on him. It reminds me of the career-sapping yearly position changes the Mets put Bobby Bonilla through a few years back.
So now Nevin's gone. And in his place is Chan Ho Park.
And Kevin Towers is pleased by this. To paraphrase Jon Lovitz-as-Mike Dukakis, how are the Dodgers losing to these guys?
As for the trade, what is going on here? It's an awful trade for the Padres, but it's not exactly great for the Rangers. Where is Nevin playing and who is going to pitch for them?
Oh, and I would hardly blame the position changes for Bonilla's fall off the face of the earth, but that's probably a subject for another time.
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