Published November 20, 2014
The San Diego Padres added a new double-play combination on Friday when they reacquired shortstop Jason Bartlett in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and closed in on a deal with second baseman Orlando Hudson.
The Padres got Bartlett and a player to be determined from the Rays. Tampa Bay will receive major league relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos, and minor leaguers Brandon Gomes, a right-hander, and Cole Figueroa, an infielder.
Two people with knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press that Hudson has agreed to an $11.5 million, two-year contract.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because Hudson must still pass a physical.
Hudson will replace David Eckstein. Hudson played last season with the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins, hitting .268 with six homers and 37 RBIs. Prior to that he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays.
Hudson will make $4 million 2011 and $5.5 million in 2012. There's an $8 million mutual option for 2013 with a $2 million buyout.
Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said he couldn't comment on the Hudson deal.
Bartlett will replace Miguel Tejada, who signed with the San Francisco Giants. He made 125 starts at shortstop for the Rays, hitting .254 with four homers and 47 RBIs.
He was selected by San Diego in the 13th round of the 2001 amateur draft, then traded to Minnesota the following July for Brian Buchanon.
The Padres had just drafted Khalil Greene, making Bartlett, then with Double-A Lake Elsinore, expendable.
"I'm excited," Bartlett said during a conference call. "I never got to the big leagues over there. I've heard the National League game is a lot different. My wife and I love the beach, so we're excited about that. Coming from Tampa, there's no better place to go than San Diego. Hopefully, I can be there for a while."
Bartlett is eligible for salary arbitration after making $4 million last season. He can become a free agent after the 2011 World Series.
"Certainly in making this deal, I'm hopeful we can keep him in a Padres uniform beyond one year," Hoyer said.
Bartlett was an All-Star in 2009, when he set career highs by hitting .320 with 14 home runs, 66 RBIs, 90 runs scored and 30 stolen bases.
He dropped off last year, hitting .254 with four homers and 47 RBIs.
"Something clicked that year where everything was going right," Bartlett said of the '09 season. "Hopefully it clicks again."
The Rays and Padres appeared close to a deal at the recent winter meetings, but Hoyer said reports were premature.
Bartlett said he initially found out about the deal then because he has an MLB trade rumor application on his iPhone and he got an update saying the trade was official. He texted his agent, who said it wasn't.
"It's been pretty hectic," he said. "I had a feeling it would work out."
Hoyer, who used to work in Boston's front office, was familiar with Bartlett.
"He was hard to play against," Hoyer said. "He's a pest. He gets on base, he has good at-bats. He's a good all-around baseball player. There was always a focus on that breakout year he had, but even before that season you didn't want to see him in the batter's box. He's a player you didn't want to play against."
Bartlett was traded from Minnesota to Tampa Bay, along with Matt Garza, in a six-player deal on Nov. 28, 2007.
Russell made 12 relief appearances with San Diego in 2010 while Ramos made 14 relief appearances. Both were in their second big league seasons. Figueroa and Gomes are minor leaguers.
The Padres still need to get a first baseman after trading Adrian Gonzalez to Boston.