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12/17/10 8:00 PM EST
Padres acquire shortstop Bartlett from Rays
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- In one fell swoop on Friday, the Padres may have addressed two of their biggest needs of the offseason -- finding a starting shortstop and second baseman. Hours after it was reported the Padres were closing in on a two-year deal with free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, the team completed a trade with the Rays that landed shortstop Jason Bartlett and a player to be named later. The Padres will send relief pitchers Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos and Brandon Gomes and infielder Cole Figueroa to the Rays for Bartlett, 31. "We're really happy to get Jason. I watched him play when I was in Boston. He's hard to play against," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "He's a pest. He battles every at-bat. He was a guy you didn't want to see in the batter's box." Bartlett, who is arbitration-eligible and due a raise from the $4 million he made last season, hit .254 with the Rays with four home runs and 47 RBIs. He missed two weeks with a strained right hamstring. "I'm excited. I never got to the big leagues over there. I've heard the NL is a lot different," Bartlett said. "My wife and I love the beach. We're all excited. Hopefully I can be there for a while. I'm ready to go." In order to land Bartlett, the Padres parted with two relievers in Russell and Ramos who appeared at the Major League level in 2010. Gomes and Figueroa spent all of last season in the Minors. Russell, who was obtained in the 2009 trade that sent Jake Peavy to the White Sox, had a 4.02 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings last season for the Padres. The right-hander spent most of the season with Triple-A Portland, going 4-9 with a 4.88 ERA. Ramos, a left-hander, had an 11.88 ERA in 8 1/3 innings for the Padres. He was 6-7 with a 3.28 ERA in 30 games, 15 of them starts, for Portland. Tampa Bay general manager Andrew Friedman said on Friday that Russell would be a part of the bullpen and that Ramos would compete for a job. Gomes, a 26-year-old right-hander, was 7-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 51 games for Double-A San Antonio. Figueroa, 23, hit .303 with four home runs and 66 RBIs for Class A Lake Elsinore. The teams appeared to be close to a deal during the Winter Meetings last week. But those reports were premature, and Hoyer said the teams needed time to work out the particulars of the deal before it was announced on Friday. With Bartlett, the Padres acquired an everyday shortstop who has developed into a steady player the last three seasons with the Rays. Bartlett returns to the organization that drafted him -- in the 13th round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft -- before trading him to the Twins 13 months later. Bartlett spent four seasons with the Twins before being traded as part of a six-player deal before the 2008 season to the Rays. The Rays lost to the Phillies in the World Series that season. In 2009, Bartlett hit .320 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs in 2009. "His value is in that he does everything well. He brings a ton to a team. He's a winning player," Hoyer said. "I don't think it was a fluke that the year they went to the World Series he was the team MVP, despite not having gaudy numbers." Last season, the Padres used four players at shortstop: Everth Cabrera, Jerry Hairston, Lance Zawadzki and Miguel Tejada. Tejada has signed with the Giants and Zawadzki was released. The Padres still have hope of resigning Hairston in a utility role. As for Hudson, that deal has yet to be officially announced, though Hudson said on MLB Network Radio that he had agreed to a pact. The Associated Press later reported Hudson will sign a contract for two years and $11.5 million. On Friday, Hoyer wouldn't comment on the report about Hudson's impending signing. The Padres aren't finished yet. The team is still considering several free agents to fill first base, a position left vacant when the Padres traded Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox for four players. Hoyer will also look to find a backup catcher to spell Nick Hundley.