Final touches being placed on Nevin trade
By EVAN GRANT / The Dallas Morning News
ARLINGTON — Just shy of the season’s one-third mark, the Rangers ended the Phil Nevin experiment Wednesday afternoon.
A week after Nevin lost his job to rookie Jason Botts, the club was putting the final touches on a deal with the Chicago Cubs, a pair of Rangers sources said. No further details of the deal were available. The Rangers are expected to pick up a significant portion of the $6 million remaining on Nevin’s salary. They are not expected to receive a significant player in return.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels declined to comment.
''If I have something to announce, I’ll do it at the appropriate time,'' Daniels said.
The move gives the Rangers the option of calling up speedy outfielder Freddy Guzman, who was acquired from San Diego earlier in the month, and creates more playing time for players such as Botts, Mark DeRosa, Brad Wilkerson and Kevin Mench.
Nevin met with manager Buck Showalter and general manager Jon Daniels about an hour before Wednesday’s game. He was not in the dugout for the afternoon game against Seattle. His game-winning home run against Oakland last Thursday, which had been a regular of the pre-game highlight video, was also not played.
The Rangers acquired Nevin, 35, last July in a swap of bad contracts. Texas sent pitcher Chan Ho Park, who had almost $20 million remaining of his original five-year, $65 million deal, to San Diego. Nevin, who had about $15 million remaining on his long-term deal with the Padres, came to Texas.
Nevin was installed as the Rangers’ cleanup hitter and quickly flopped. He was removed from the No. 4 spot after just two weeks.
The Rangers were willing to move him during the offseason but found little interest because of his declining performance and big contract. When he arrived at spring training, he made an immediate favorable impression.
Nevin had a strong first two weeks but tailed off in the middle of the month. From April 26 through May 22, Nevin batted just .160 without a home run. The Rangers called up Jason Botts on May 23 and announced he’d be the regular DH and that Nevin would split time with him.
Nevin returned to the lineup last Thursday after missing a pair of games and broke an 0-for-17 slump with a game-winning homer. But he was just 1-for-12 in three subsequent starts. As a Ranger, Nevin batted .204 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs in 275 at-bats.
The Cubs have been looking for an extra bat since first baseman Derek Lee suffered a broken wrist early in the season. Nevin can play first and also fill in at third and as a catcher.