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    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    Thanks and Goodbye

    Dave Roberts was traded to his hometown San Diego Padres on Monday night for outfielder Jay Payton and infielder Ramon Vazquez.

    Boston also received minor-league right-hander David Pauley and $2.65 million in cash.

    "This is a dream come true," said Roberts, who has lived in San Diego County since he was 12. "After winning the World Series you don't think it can get any better, but it has."

    Roberts will play center field in spacious Petco Park and bat leadoff, which will allow the Padres to drop Sean Burroughs in the order. Had Roberts stayed with Boston, he wouldn't have played regularly.

    Roberts did not play in the World Series, but it was his stolen base in the ninth inning of Game 4 in the ALCS that began the comeback against New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

    "As far as we're concerned, (it was) one of the biggest stolen bases in baseball history," Boston general manager Theo Epstein said. "We went from potentially getting swept to winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years."

    Roberts hadn't played in 10 days before the stolen base.

    "When everyone in the ballpark knows you're going to steal against Rivera, it's pretty tough," he said. "Thank God I was safe. That was a great chapter in my life, but I can't express how excited I am to put on a Padres uniform.

    Payton, 32, is a career .285 hitter with 77 homers and 300 RBIs in 715 games with the Mets, Rockies and Padres. The former college teammate of Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra hit .260 with eight homers and 55 RBIs for the Padres last season and had his best season in '03, when he batted .302 with 28 homers and 89 RBIs for Colorado.

    Vazquez, 28, hit .262 with six homers and 79 RBIs with the Mariners and Padres. He has played all four infield positions.

    Pauley was 24-29 with a save and a 3.97 ERA in 79 games in four minor league seasons.

    Also Monday, the Red Sox did not offer contracts to catcher Sandy Martinez, pitcher Lenny DiNardo and left-hander Billy Traber. The players could re-sign with Boston, but by allowing them to become free agents the Red Sox can get around the maximum-cut rules.
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