SAN DIEGO - Brian Giles seemed all but gone late last week when the San Diego Padres rejected a proposal from his agent.
That’s what made it so surprising when the right fielder agreed Thursday to re-sign with his hometown Padres for $30 million over three years.
“We’re extremely excited that Brian Giles will be wearing a Padres uniform for the next several seasons,” general manager Kevin Towers said. “He is a tremendous everyday player who is an offensive force and a solid defender.”
One of the top outfielders on the free-agent market, Giles batted .301 with 15 homers and 83 RBIs last season, leading the NL West-champion Padres in several offensive categories. He drew a major league-best 119 walks and had a stellar .423 on-base percentage.
“Brian Giles is a key reason the San Diego Padres won the National League West in 2005, so I am delighted were able to bring back a player of his caliber,” San Diego chief executive officer Sandy Alderson said. “I strongly believe that Brian is a significant element to what we are trying to accomplish.”
The two-time All-Star will earn $9 million per season from 2006-08, with a $9 million option for 2009 that could raise the value of the deal to $36 million over four years. The club has a $3 million buyout for 2009.
“It’s been a pleasant surprise,” Giles’ agent, Joe Bick, said Wednesday night. “I guess the Padres had a change of heart.”
The New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays were among the other teams thought to be interested in Giles, who turns 35 on Jan. 21. He made $7 million each of the last two seasons.
Giles was obtained from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 26, 2003, for left-hander Oliver Perez and outfielder Jason Bay, the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year.
Giles had four huge seasons with the Pirates from 1999-02, hitting at least 35 homers each year and driving in more than 100 runs three times.
His power dropped off once he joined the Padres, in part because of the deep dimensions in right field at spacious Petco Park, which opened in 2004.
But he remained an effective offensive player and made up for his diminishing home runs with patience at the plate and RBI production.
Giles, who began his career with the Cleveland Indians, is the older brother of Atlanta Braves second baseman Marcus Giles.
The left-handed hitting outfielder was one of three top free agents who helped the Padres win the NL West with an 82-80 record last season before they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the St. Louis Cardinals. The others are closer Trevor Hoffman and catcher Ramon Hernandez.
The Padres have offered Hoffman $10 million over two years. Hoffman is seeking between $25 million and $27 million for three years.
San Diego hasn’t expressed interest in keeping Hernandez.
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