Padres agree to terms with nine players on contracts for the 2012 season

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Padres today announced they have agreed to terms with nine arbitration-eligible players on contracts for the 2012 season, including right-handed pitchers Luke Gregerson, Tim Stauffer and Edinson Volquez, left-handed pitcher Joe Thatcher, catchers John Baker and Nick Hundley, infielder Chase Headley and outfielders Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. Executive Vice President/General Manager Josh Byrnes made the announcement.

Gregerson, 27, went 3-3 with a career-best 2.75 ERA (17 ER/55.2 IP) and 34 strikeouts against 19 walks over 61 relief appearances for the Padres last season.  Over three Major League seasons (2009-11), all with the Padres, he has gone 9-14 with a 3.10 ERA (72 ER/209.0 IP) and 216 strikeouts against 68 walks in 213 relief appearances.

Stauffer, 29, made a career-high 31 starts in 2011, going 9-12 with a 3.73 ERA (77 ER/185.2 IP) for San Diego.  The Padres Opening Day starter last year, he went 5-6 with a 2.97 ERA (39 ER/118.0 IP) and 90 strikeouts against 31 walks over 19 starts in the first half of 2011. Over parts of six Major League seasons (2005-07, 2009-11) with the Padres, he has gone 23-31 with a 3.92 ERA (190 ER/436.0 IP) since being selected by San Diego in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2033 First-Year Player Draft.

Volquez, 28, was acquired by the Padres this offseason from the Cincinnati Reds in the five-player trade which sent right-handed pitcher Mat Latos to Cincinnati.  He has gone 30-18 with a 4.17 ERA (193 ER/417.0 IP), a .238 (366-for-1540) opponents batting average and 424 strikeouts against 225 walks in 74 games, 73 starts, since being acquired by the Reds in December of 2007 from the Texas Rangers as part of a three-player deal in exchange for outfielder Josh Hamilton.  In his first full Major League campaign in 2008, he went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA (70 ER/196.0 IP) and 206 strikeouts against 93 walks over 33 games, 32 starts, being named to his first National League All-Star Team that year.  The right-hander was the Reds’ Opening Day starter last season, going 5-7 with a 5.71 ERA (69 ER/108.2 IP) and 104 strikeouts against 65 walks in 20 starts for Cincinnati.  He also went 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA (23 ER/87.1 IP) and 83 strikeouts against 29 walks in 13 starts for Triple-A Louisville in 2011. 

Thatcher, 30, has gone 4-6 with a 3.36 ERA (51 ER/136.2 IP) and 142 strikeouts against 51 walks in 182 relief appearances over parts of five Major League seasons with the Padres (2007-11). The southpaw began the 2011 season on the disabled list and underwent surgery on his left shoulder in May of last year.  He was reinstated in August and worked in 18 games for the Padres last season.

Baker, 31 years old on January 20, has hit .271 (179-for-661) with 42 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 89 RBI, 98 runs scored and 82 walks in 212 games over parts of four seasons with the Florida Marlins (2008-11) in his Major League career.  The catcher missed most of the 2011 season due to surgery on his right elbow in September of 2010.  Baker was acquired by the Padres from the Marlins this offseason in exchange for left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc.

Hundley, 28, hit a career-best .288 (81-for-281) last season with 16 doubles, five triples, a career-high nine home runs, 29 RBI, 34 runs scored, a .347 on-base percentage and a .477 slugging percentage over 82 games for the Padres. The catcher underwent surgery on his right elbow in July of 2011 and was reinstated from the disabled on August 12, hitting .367 (47-for-128) with 11 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 14 RBI and 19 runs scored over his final 37 games of 2011.  His .367 batting average from August 12 through the end of the season ranked fifth-best in the Majors and third-best in the National League over that span. Originally selected by the Padres in the second round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, he has hit .255 (257-for-1008) with 56 doubles, 10 triples, 30 home runs, 126 RBI and 111 runs scored in 305 games over four Major League seasons (2008-11) with the Padres.

Headley, 27, hit a career-high .289 (110-for-381) with 28 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 44 RBI, 43 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 113 games for the Padres in 2011. The switch-hitter hit .352 (37-for-105) against left-handed pitchers last season, the second-highest mark among all National League players with 100-or-more at-bats against left-handers. Originally selected by the Padres in the second round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, he has hit .269 (506-for-1883) with 108 doubles, eight triples, 36 home runs, 204 RBI, 217 runs scored, 202 walks and 44 stolen bases in 529 games played over parts of five Major League seasons (2007-11) with San Diego.

Venable, 29, has hit .250 (291-for-1165) with 43 doubles, 18 triples, 36 home runs, 143 RBI, 163 runs scored and 62 stolen bases in 375 games over parts of four Major League seasons (2008-11) with the Padres. In 121 games last season, the left-handed hitter hit .246 (91-for-370) with 14 doubles, seven triples, nine home runs, 44 RBI, 49 runs scored and 26 stolen bases. He was originally selected by the Padres in the seventh-round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

Quentin, 29, was acquired by the Padres from the Chicago White Sox last month in exchange for right-handed pitcher Simon Castro and left-handed pitcher Pedro Hernandez.  Last season for the White Sox, he hit .254 (107-for-421) with 24 home runs, a career-high 31 doubles, 77 RBI and 53 runs scored.  He was also named to his second All-Star team last season as he posted his highest batting average, most doubles, most extra-base hits (55) and highest slugging percentage (.499) since his first All-Star campaign in 2008, a season in which he won his first and only Silver Slugger award and finished in the top five of American League Most Valuable Player voting.  The outfielder also posted his fourth-straight 20-homer campaign in 2011 and tied a White Sox franchise record with an AL-leading 23 HBP.

With today’s transactions the Padres currently have two players still eligible for arbitration in right-handed pitcher Dustin Moseley and left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard.