Rangers acquire Nevin for Park

Rangers acquire Nevin for Park

TORONTO -- The Chan Ho Park era in Texas is over.

After 3 1/2 years of generally unfulfilled expectations, the Rangers traded the veteran right-hander to the San Diego Padres on Friday night for first baseman Phil Nevin, who nixed a trade to Baltimore earlier in the week. The deal became official after it received Commissioner Bud Selig's approval on Saturday.

"We're pleased to add a veteran player like Phil to our club," said Rangers general manager John Hart in a statement issued Saturday morning. "This trade gives us an experienced right-handed bat and adds a versatile piece to our lineup. This is a deal that made sense for both teams."

The Rangers were not one of the clubs on Nevin's no-trade list and Park waived his no-trade provisions, enabling him to return to southern California, where he had his greatest success as a Major League pitcher while with the Dodgers from 1994 through 2001.

Texas signed Park to a five-year, $65 million free agent contract amid great hoopla after the 2001 season, but Park never found his groove for a long period while pitching for the Rangers.

After coming into the year 14-18 for Texas with a 5.65 ERA and five trips to the disabled list, Park emerged to become the club's Player of the Month for April. But he has had only sporadic success in recent weeks and his 2005 ERA was up to 5.66, with opponents hitting .299 against him.

Park makes roughly $14 million this season and $14 million next season. Nevin is making $9.675 this year and $10 million next year, with a $2 million buyout for 2007.

The buzz about a possible deal intensified after Park was a late scratch from Friday's scheduled start against the Blue Jays. Park left Rogers Centre quickly and declined media comment when contacted via cell phone by the Rangers.

Rangers shortstop Michael Young was one of the few Texas players who had a chance to speak with Park before the 32-year-old pitcher left the stadium.

"Chan Ho's first couple of years were tough because he was always injured," Young said. "But this year he was a positive force for us. He competed and kept us in ballgames. I'm confident he'll do really well for the Padres."

The Rangers are expecting Nevin to join them Saturday in Toronto. He was hitting .256 with nine homers and 47 RBIs for San Diego. Nevin expressed excitement over joining the Rangers, but made it clear he'll always savor his tenure with the Padres.

"It's an opportunity to play in a great organization, with great people there that I've known for a long time," Nevin said. "It's over. I'm a Texas Ranger now. I intend to help them accomplish their goals."

Padres slugger Ryan Klesko expects Nevin to thrive while playing home games in hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field.

"I guarantee he'll get back to hitting 30 to 40 homers and driving in 100 runs in that ballpark," Klesko said.

Rangers manager Buck Showalter did not wish to speak in-depth about the Nevin-Park deal until it becomes official. But Showalter did say that if the deal is consummated, it should work well for both players.

"Chan Ho never quit fighting," Showalter said. "San Diego would be getting somebody who can help, I really believe that."

Showalter also believes Nevin can be a good fit for a Texas ballclub which has been looking for another productive right-handed bat. Finding a designated hitter against left-handed pitching has been a riddle for the Rangers all year, beginning with the Greg Colbrunn injury in Spring Training.

The versatile Nevin also could provide the Rangers with an emergency third catcher, an ingredient the club has been seeking.

The immediate problem for Texas will be piecing together a revamped starting rotation. With Kenny Rogers in the midst of a suspension and Park no longer around, the Rangers have to find starting rotation help in their farm system or through acquisitions.

Meanwhile, they'll have another veteran hitter who can provide balance in the batting order.

"In our park, it's a little harder to hit the ball out to left field than right field, but the thing about Nevin is that he has opposite-field power, too," Young said. "We're looking forward to having him get here. He's a guy who can do a lot for our ballclub."

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.