Published January 28, 2010
SAN DIEGO – SAN DIEGO (AP) — The next stop on Jon Garland's tour of Southern California's big league teams is San Diego and spacious Petco Park.
The durable right-hander agreed to a $5.3 million, one-year contract with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
"A place like San Diego was so appealing to me because it's one of the few remaining parks that is a pitcher's park, and the San Diego Padres are building a team around that park, with speed and good pitching," Garland said during a conference call Tuesday evening. "It's a place that I saw myself being."
Garland, who grew up in the L.A. area, saw his first NL action in 2009, splitting the season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a combined 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA.
He spent his first eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox, helping them win the 2005 World Series. He was traded to the Angels in November 2007 and signed as a free agent with Arizona before the 2009 season. He was traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 31.
The Padres had pursued Garland most of the offseason, and the deal came together in the last week.
"With the opportunity to come down to San Diego, it's a place where, early in my career, being from Southern California, I thought it would be fantastic to play there," Garland said. "I wasn't sure if that ever was going to happen, it's something that came about and I jumped on it."
Garland will figure prominently in San Diego's rotation, along with Chris Young and Kevin Correia. He's made more than 30 starts in each of his last eight seasons, and pitched more than 200 innings in five of those seasons. During that span, he never pitched fewer than 191 2-3 innings.
"He's a guy who's durable, who's going to make his starts, who's going to be steady, who's going to give you a professional effort every time out," manager Bud Black said. "We think that Jon, in our rotation, just makes us a better club. He's a guy that takes the ball and pitches well from April to September. He's a guy that you can count on, which says a lot, for me."
General manager Jed Hoyer called the 30-year-old Garland "a young veteran, if you will," who is capable of providing "high-quality innings."
"When you look at Jon's track record, he's really always pitched in hitter's parks, except for really the last month of the season with the Dodgers," Hoyer said. "So him coming to the Padres and being able to pitch in Petco, we think can really help him a great deal. I think he'll thrive here."
Garland will make $4.7 million this season, with a mutual option for $6.75 million in 2011. If the Padres decline, he gets a $600,000 buyout. If Garland rejects it, the buyout is $300,000.
The Padres finished fourth in the NL West after going 37-25 down the stretch.
Garland likes their chances.
"When you look at this team on paper, I don't think there's any person who's going to give us a chance," Garland said. "To me that's a very, very scary combination, because when you put a bunch of young guys on the field that are hungry to play, that are hungry to show the world what they're capable of doing, and you have teams come in and kind of sit back, we can creep up on people. Facing this team last year on numerous occasions, they're not just going to roll over. They come to play, they come to win. That's pretty much all you can ask.
"If people look past this team, they're in for a big surprise."
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.