Padres could have had Roberts for Stanley

In an interesting development, the San Diego Padres traded a player, minor-leaguer Henri Stanley, to the Boston Red Sox who turned around and used him as the sole trade chip to acquire Dave Roberts from LA at last year's trading deadline. It took the Padres three players and cash to get Roberts from Boston on Monday.

Sounds a little fishy because it is.

The Padres sent Jay Payton, Ramon Vasquez, minor league pitcher David Pauley and $2.65 million to Boston for 32-year old centerfielder Dave Roberts.

"I grew up a San Diego Padres fan," Roberts said. "That's all I knew when I was younger, watching guys like Tony Gwynn. It didn't seem like this could ever happen. It's something I wanted so much my whole life. To be given this opportunity, I'm going to embrace it and do everything I can to be productive and help this team win."

Roberts is a speedster who can definitely take an extra base as witnessed by his 123 stolen bases over the past three years. But Roberts, a San Diego native, carriers just a .335 on base percentage in his career.

The moral of the story – you have to get on base to steal.

Roberts is a better fit for centerfield in Petco Park than Payton will ever be. Although he lacks an arm, he will be able to get to more balls and he will be able to cover up for Ryan Klesko.

Roberts also satisfies the Padres need for a leadoff hitter. He will slot in at the top of the lineup and it will likely push Burroughs down to sixth or seventh, depending on where they want to slot Khalil Greene. His ability to bunt will be an asset and he will electrify the crowd with a surplus of triples.

But this deal stinks. Old pal Theo Epstein has turned into a shrewd business man while Kevin Towers has allowed his former mate to pull the wool over his eyes.

"This trade allows Dave to reach his potential as a player and also allows us to address two needs for the price of one and get a piece for the future," Epstein said on Monday.

When the two teams originally began to talk, the deal centered on Payton and Vasquez for Roberts – an easy pill to swallow. But the inclusion of money and a prospect seems outlandish.

Pauley, 21, was an eighth round draft pick of the Padres in 2001 out of high school. He went 7-12 with a 4.17 ERA last year with Lake Elsinore of the California League. What his outward numbers don't show is that it was usually one inning that killed his night. He let up more runs in the first and fifth innings than any other three innings combined. And at 21, Pauley was one of the youngest pitchers in the Cal League.

We turned to Baseball America's Jim Callis for the latest on Pauley:

"Ceiling, realistically, is maybe a #3. He has got a solid-average, maybe a little bit of a plus, fastball. A real quick arm and he just needs to get stronger. He is a guy that has the ingredients but just needs to improve in all areas. He is probably two, two and a half years away from the Majors at least and he just needs to make progress with his curveball and changeup while learning to mix his pitches and develop a little bit more velocity and strength."

The deal as a whole fills a need for the Padres but it doesn't make sense on many levels. Giving up cash and a minor leaguer with promise for a guy that could have been had for one player last year – and who was a reserve in the Boston lineup – reeks.

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