The San Diego Padres on Saturday got rid of one of their longest-tenured players, trading catcher Nick Hundley to the Baltimore Orioles for left-handed pitcher Troy Patton. In addition, the Padres selected right-handed pitcher Billy Buckner from Triple-A El Paso.
Hundley, 30, hit .271 with a home run, three doubles and three RBI in 33 games for San Diego this season. Originally signed by the Padres as a second-round selection in the 2005 draft, Hundley has hit .238 with 85 doubles, 47 home runs and 195 RBI in 510 games over seven seasons, all with the Padres (2008-14).
Hundley was signed to a three-year, $9 million contract through 2014 (with a team option for 2015) after batting .288 with nine home runs in 2011, staking his claim to the starting catching job. However, in 2012 Hundley batted .157 and the Padres have never regained their confidence in him. Yasmani Grandal, acquired from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade, appears to be the Padres' catcher of choice.
Though Hundley has rebounded offensively this year, he has been third in the pecking order behind Grandal and Rene Rivera. Grandal has five home runs but is hitting .206, while Rivera is batting .255.
The Padres will reportedly pay off some of Hundley 2014 contract.
Patton, 28, has an 0-1 record this season with Baltimore with an 8.10 ERA in 6 2/3 innings over nine relief appearances since being activated on May 1. Originally signed by Houston as a ninth-round selection in the 2004 draft, the 6-1 lefty has posted a career 5-4 record with a 3.28 ERA. Patton is expected to join the club on Sunday.
Buckner, 30, has a 3-0 record with a 2.89 ERA in five starts with Triple-A El Paso this season after signing with the Padres as a minor league free agent on April 19. Buckner has a lifetime 7-11 record with a 6.07 ERA over parts of five seasons between Kansas City (2007), Arizona (2008-10) and the Angels(2013). The 6-2, 205-pound right-hander is taking the place of injured Andrew Cashner.
This is the second recent deal by General Manager Josh Byrnes that could be seen as a cost-cutting measure. Last week he traded Kyle Blanks and his just-under-$1 million salary for a career minor leaguer.