Padres sign Derek McDaid

Getting noticed is the first step. Being signed is the goal. Right-handed pitcher Derek McDaid accomplished both tasks, signed to a minor league contract by the San Diego Padres.

It took two separate tryouts – one in Chicago that was rain-soaked and another in Peoria, Arizona at the team's training complex – to seal the deal.

He was one of four players signed and the only one not to play Independent League ball.

"He went to UNC-Charlotte and we were contacted by a gentlemen in Canada – this guy contacted one person who contacted another person who contacted me," Mal Fichman, the Padres' former Independent League coordinator, said. "They put me together with the gentleman in Canada who was helping him out and the interesting part was before he came to us in Chicago he also threw for the MLB Scouting Bureau who sent a report (to all major league teams).

"I talked to the gentleman and asked if he was going to keep going to these tryouts to let me know and he showed up – fastball topped out at 92. We rated it as a 55. His change of pace – 45 – slightly below average. His slider – he has an idea. He threw 79-80, a 45 projected to 50."

McDaid spent the last two seasons pitching for the Charlotte 49ers NCAA Division I program.

In 2006, he finished the year with a 9-4 record and a 2.45 ERA, best among starters. Five of his 15 starts were complete games. In 102.2 innings, McDaid allowed 97 hits, walked 24 and struck out 69. The opposition hit .256 off him. He was the only regular starter not to surrender a home run the entire season.

He also went 2-for-2 at the plate.

"A Canadian kid who gets up to 92," Bill Bryk, the Padres' minor league field coordinator, said. "Good breaking ball and good size."

McDaid posted a career 15-6 record in two seasons at Charlotte. He struck out 103 batters in 176.2 innings pitched, walking 51. His career ERA was 4.12 in 30 games. He led or tied for the team lead in wins for both of his seasons in a Charlotte uniform.

"He never signed with an organization," Bryk explained. "He is a guy that fell through the cracks. Those are the ones I get most excited about. I find it is always better to get guys that were missed by the draft for whatever reason."

McDaid will report to spring training with the club in 2007 and has a chance to show other teams what they are missing. Early projections have him working towards a job in the starting rotation.

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