Mike Piazza Becomes a Padre

All-Star catcher Mike Piazza agreed to a $2 million, one-year free agent contract with the San Diego, giving the Padres a solid-hitting catcher who can still help a club.

Piazza, 37, was non-tendered by the New York Mets and had considered joining an AL team as a designated hitter, but instead will return to the West Coast for the first time since the Dodgers ill-fated trade with the Florida Marlins in 1998.

The deal includes a option for 2007 at $8 million.

Even though Piazza's production at the plate has declined, his homers with the New York last season were more than any Padres player hit. Piazza holds the major league record for most career home runs by a catcher (397) and has 1.223 runs batted in.

Piazza left the Dodgers with a .331 batting average, best in Los Angeles history and in 1997 hit 40 home runs, knocked in 124 and finished with an eye-popping .331-.431-.638 batting line.

He was the 1993 Rookie of the Year and was the 1996 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player. He has 10 Silver Sluggers to his credit.

The Padres apparently told Mike that he could pretty much catch as many games as he wanted to and he plans to catch 90-100 games in addition to playing first base and DHing during interleague games.

>b>Herges Perfect
Matt Herges is the only Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher to lead the National League in relief wins. He crafted a perfect 11-0 in 2000, the only league-leader to go without a loss, then tied for the league-lead in 2001 with nine wins. Brooklyn's Hugh Casey was a triple winner, leading the league in 1942 (8), 1946 (11) and 1947 (10). Herges was a eight-year minor league player before getting his first chance in 1999 and then blossoming with his peerfect recod at the age of 30. He was traded to Montreal late in the 2002 spring training period and has also pitched for San Diego, San Francisco and finished the 2005 season with Arizona.

Eighteen relief pitchers have finished with league-leading totals, nine each in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Eight of the pitchers helped their team to a N.L. pennant and two finished in a tie at the end of the season.

Ron Perranoski holds the franchise record with 16 wins out of the bullpen, accomplished during 1962, the first season in Dodger Stadium. Rubber-armed Mike Marshall pitched a major-league record 208 innings and led the league in both wins and losses in 1974.

All who have broken into double figures have led the league in relief wins except Joe Black, who's 14 victories were topped by Hoyt Wilhelm's 15 for the New York Giants in 1962 and Ed Roebuck, who won 10 but failed to top the even dozen won by Philadelphia's Jack Baldschun in 1962.

Mike Marshall, who worked an incredible 106 games in relief in 1974 (208 innings), is the only Dodger to have led the league both in relief wins and losses.
name                    w- l Club
Ron Perranoski, 1963  *16 -3  LA
Mike Marshall, 1974   *15-*14 LA
Joe Black, 1952        14 -3  Brk
Phil Regan, 1966      *14 -1  LA
Clyde King, 1951      *13 -6  Brk
Larry Sherry, 1960    *13 -8  LA
Charlie Hough, 1976   *12 -8  LA
Hugh Casey, 1946      *11 -4  Brk
Matt Herges, 2000     *11 -0  LA
John Morrison, 1929   *10 -2  Brk
Hugh Casey, 1947      *10 -4  Brk
Clem Labine, 1953     *10 -4  Brk
Clem Labine, 1955     *10 -2  Brk
Ed Roebuck, 1962      *10 -2  LA
Pedro Martinez, 1993  *10 -3  LA

Other league leaders:  w- l  Club
Matt Herges, 2001      *9 -8  LA
Hugh Casey, 1942       *8 -4  Brk
Art Decatur, 1924      *7 -2  Brk
  *Led league 

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