December 22, 1999- The San Diego Padres acquire first baseman Ryan Klesko, second baseman Bret Boone and minor league pitcher Jason Shiell from the Atlanta Braves for second baseman Quilvio Veras, left fielder Reggie Sanders and first baseman Wally Joyner
At the time Padres fans were fresh off the dismantling of the 1998 National League Champion Padres. Losing both Veras and Joyner were the final straws to saying goodbye to that magical season. Ken Caminiti, Kevin Brown, Greg Vaughn and Steve Finley were all with other teams. At this point losing these two along with Sanders whom the Padres got for Vaughn was nothing but a flesh wound.
The return however wasn’t a fire sale move at all. It was a good old fashioned baseball trade as the Padres acquired two very useful players. Both Bret Boone and Ryan Klesko has great ability but had failed to put it all together. Perhaps moving out west would help them blossom into all-stars.
Klesko had some very productive years in San Diego with the Padres. For a time, he and Phil Nevin provided a lethal punch in the middle of the Padres batting order. Klesko responded from the trade by hitting .283 with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 2000 for the Friars. The stolen bases were a pleasant surprise as Klesko responded from getting a chance to play first base everyday.
In his seven years as a Padres player, Klesko hit 133 home runs and had a batting line of .279/.381/.491 in 828 games and 2,800 at bats. He was an all-star in 2001 for the Padres as he hit .286 on the season with 30 homers and 113 RBIs.
Bret Boone had only one season as a Padre, but put up very respectable numbers for a second baseman. He hit .251 with 19 homers and 74 RBIs in 127 games. He became a free agent at the end of the year and signed with the Seattle Mariners who originally drafted him in 1990. His numbers exploded in Seattle as Boone hit 37 homers and drove in 141 runs while hitting a cool .331 for the M’s in 2001. The Padres fans immediately began to shake their heads. How could Boone blossom so much, one year after leaving?
Boone only had one year, but Klesko had seven decent seasons. Losing Joyner was tough but he was clearly on the way out. He only played in 119 games for the Braves in 2000 and retired after the next season. Quilvio Veras was a big part of the deal for the Braves as they needed a leadoff hitter. Veras was still 28 at the time of the trade but had constant leg injuries and only played in 84 games for the Braves in 2000. He played just one more season and was out of the game at the age of 30.
Reggie Sanders was the best player the Padres parted with in this deal. He had one great year in San Diego in 1999 where he hit .285 with 26 homers and 76 RBIs. He also recorded an on base percentage of .376 while stealing 36 bases. He had an injury riddled year in Atlanta only playing in 103 games batting .232 on the season. He became a free agent after the year and signed with the Diamondbacks.
The Braves got fleeced in this deal. Veras, Joyner and Sanders gave them little to no production while Klesko went on to have seven decent years in San Diego and Boone blossomed into an all-star. The trade helped shape the Padres of the early 2000’s. Klesko was a vital member in those days. The team was nothing special, but at least he provided an offense spark for the team. On this date 16 years ago the Padres made a very nice deal for the franchise.