The Padres completed their second trade in 5 days Friday, acquiring right-handed pitcher Walt Terrell from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for third baseman Chris Brown and first baseman Keith Moreland.
Team sources said the Padres also agreed to pay as much as half of Moreland’s $1.25 million salary for next season.
After crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s, Padre Manager Jack McKeon left for a weekend vacation in Las Vegas. To shoot craps.
It seemed appropriate for McKeon, who has significantly altered the Padres’ 1989 lineup this week. On Monday, the club acquired first baseman Jack Clark and pitcher Pat Clements from the New York Yankees for pitchers Lance McCullers and Jimmy Jones and outfielder Stanley Jefferson.
Terrell, 30, will likely replace Jones in the rotation.
“I’m very happy with the trade,” Terrell said. “The Padres have played very well, and hopefully I can add something.
“There have been rumors all year that I’d be traded someplace, and the San Diego rumor lasted the longest of any of them. But I really didn’t think I’d get traded this winter.”
The Padres and Tigers had been talking of a trade involving Moreland and Terrell since August. But until Friday, the timing was not right.
“We’ve talked about Keith Moreland and tried to acquire him,” said Bill Lajoie, the Tigers’ general manager. “Terrell’s name was mentioned, but we were in the pennant drive and didn’t want to give up a pitcher.”
Terrell learned of the trade Friday morning when Lajoie telephoned. Terrell said he was reading The Sporting News and had read about the Padres minutes before taking the call. He then sat down and re-read the Padre report.
Coincidentally, Terrell and former Tiger pitcher Dan Petry, now with the Angels, had talked Friday morning of the possibility of Terrell going to the Padres. They live two blocks apart in Grosse Point Park, Mich.
“He said he was reading the paper and read of McKeon’s trading,” Terrell said. “He said he was thinking about me if I got traded.”
Terrell, a veteran of 7 major league seasons, was acquired by Detroit from the Mets in exchange for infielder Howard Johnson on Dec. 7, 1984. He began his major league career with the Mets in 1982 and has a 73-71 career record.
After compiling a 47-32 record from 1985 through 1987, Terrell had an off year in 1988. It started with a badly sprained ankle when he slipped on a patch of ice outside his house before spring training. He didn’t make his first start until April 30, and finished the season with a 7-16 record.
But the record reflected the Tigers’ lack of offense more than Terrell’s pitching: His earned-run average was 3.97 in 29 starts. In his final 11 starts, the Tigers scored just 23 runs.
“He’s the unluckiest player on this team,” Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson told The Sporting News. “We never get him any runs.”
Said Lajoie: “Walt’s probably been our steadiest starter on the staff for the last 4 years. He’s a very fine and well-respected person. Our strength has been pitching, and to get offense you sometimes have to trade pitching.
“He handles situations very well and is a very poised pitcher out on the mound.”
Terrell rarely misses a scheduled start. He has pitched in at least 200 innings in each of the past 5 seasons.
“We’re delighted to pick up a pitcher the caliber of Walt Terrell,” McKeon said on a tape made by the club before he left for the weekend. “I know he had an off year last year, but before then he was real consistent. He was a 17-game winner (17-10) in 1987 and slipped a little last year, but we still got good scouting reports on him.”
Terrell said he doesn’t set season goals other than making every start.
“I want 35 or 40 or more starts a season, and hopefully 200 or more innings,” he said. “The only thing I will bring to the Padres is that when it’s my turn to pitch, I will go out there. I’m not going to complain, moan, bitch and get on the manager. I come to win, and I play hard.”
Said Pat Dobson, the Padre pitching coach: “He was a quality pitcher before, and he can do it again if he’s healthy. I would hope a change of scenery and a better defense in the middle of the infield will help him. Obviously, if he can pitch the way he did 2 years ago, he can help everybody.”
While Terrell’s arrival represents a new beginning, the departures of Brown and Moreland end stormy chapters in the careers of each. Both have been colossal disappointments in San Diego.
Moreland, thrilled with the trade, didn’t bother to mince words.
“I’m extremely elated, to say the least,” he said. “I can’t imagine anything better. I can’t find one good thing to say about San Diego, so I might as well not say anything at all.
“I was always told that if I can’t say anything good, not to say anything at all. So I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
Moreland’s reaction to going to Detroit?
“I’m going back to the big leagues.”
The Padres acquired Moreland along with infielder Mike Brumley from the Chicago Cubs for pitchers Rich Gossage and Ray Hayward on Feb. 12, 1988. But after he injured his shoulder diving for a ball hit by California’s Johnny Ray in the opening spring training game, Moreland was never the same. A liability in the outfield, he was moved to first base at the end of June.
After going 280 at-bats without a home run, from June 1 through Sept. 5, Moreland finally hit one in San Francisco, after which he turned a cartwheel. He had a career-high 27 home runs for Chicago in 1987 and collected 88 RBIs but managed just 5 home runs and 64 RBIs in San Diego.
Aside from his on-field difficulties, Moreland never developed into the clubhouse leader the Padres expected. His future in San Diego seemed limited, and the acquisition of Clark this week sealed Moreland’s fate with the Padres.
Brown was unavailable for comment Friday, but his Woodland Hills agent, Eric Goldschmidt, said: “He thinks the trade is great. It gives him a fresh start with a good organization and a good manager. Detroit thinks a lot of him.”
The Padres acquired Brown on July 4, 1987--a year after he played for the National League in the All-Star Game--but he was never the player they hoped he would be. He missed 81 of 161 games this season, without spending a day on the disabled list, because of ailments ranging from a bruised tooth root (a ball thrown from the outfield bounced up and hit him during batting practice one day) to an injured heel (he was walking off the field during batting practice).
The low point came on June 27, when he punched Marvell Wynne in the face during a clubhouse altercation before a game in Cincinnati.
Brown batted .235 with 2 home runs in 1988. By the end of the season, he and reporters had mutually decided not to talk to each other.
Times staff writer Bill Plaschke contributed to this story.