The Padres signed Eric Show, their best pitcher in 1988, to a 2-year contract Thursday for an average of about $1 million a year, with an option for a third season.
Show earned $887,500 in 1988.
The Padres are now left with 2 players eligible to file for free agency the day after the World Series ends: shortstop Garry Templeton and pitcher Andy Hawkins.
Templeton wants to return in 1989, and the Padres want Templeton. Hawkins’ fate is more uncertain, although Dick Freeman, the acting club president, said there have been recent talks with agent Jerry Kapstein and that there is “good communication” between the two parties.
Show, 32, put together his best season in 1988: 16-11, the most victories of his career, and a 3.26 earned run average.
“It was very important to the continuity of the pitching staff to re-sign him,” said Jack McKeon, the Padre manager. “We have a good nucleus coming back, and we’re happy to have him back in the pack.”
“I’m glad he signed, that’s for sure,” pitching coach Pat Dobson said from his home in Cape Coral, Fla. “He became the stopper of the staff this year. I hope he did well financially, because there was a lot of effort in what he did.”
Show was unavailable for comment. During the last week of the season, he said, “If they make a fair offer, there shouldn’t be any trouble with me signing.”
Said Steve Greenberg, Show’s agent: “Eric made it clear from the beginning that he wanted to stay with the Padres. He’s been with the Padres his entire professional career, he has a home in San Diego, and he feels he has a good rapport with San Diego fans. I think the fact that we signed on Oct. 13 is indicative of the fact that Eric is very committed to the San Diego Padres.”
Those words underscore the current positive feeling between the Padres and Show, who has from time to time during his San Diego career expressed frustration and talked about the possibility of pitching somewhere else. The most recent flareup came on June 24 in Atlanta, when Show engaged in a post-game shouting match with McKeon after allowing 4 first inning runs in an eventual 4-3 loss.
Show generally is considered to have matured this year.
Said McKeon: “All players go through frustrating times. Eric Show is a quality person. It’s just that at times people say things that are misinterpreted.”
Sho finished the season with victories in his last 5 starts and 9 of his last 10 decisions. In his last 11 starts, he went the distance 8 times and threw a total of 90 innings, allowing just 27 earned runs and 15 walks. Control was Show’s strong suit all season; he walked more than 4 batters in just 4 games and led the team with 144 strikeouts.
“Historically, pitchers come into their own at about 30 to 35 years old,” McKeon said. “Eric has matured with experience, and I think it was a case of things falling into place. He was much more sound mentally this year, which comes from overall experience.”
Now, the Padres and Show can look forward to 1989--when both Dobson and McKeon expect even more improvement.
“He’s one guy on our staff who I think is capable of getting 20 wins,” McKeon said.
Will that be expected in 1989?
“Oh, no,” McKeon said with a laugh. “I’ll take 19.”