Correia figures to draw trade interest

Correia figures to draw trade interest

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have already dealt outfielder Scott Hairston and pitcher Cla Meredith in separate moves before the July 31 Trade Deadline.

Could starting pitcher Kevin Correia be next?

The Padres aren't receiving a lot of hits from opposing teams on the right-hander, although that could change.

On a staff that has been ravaged by injuries -- Nos. 1 and 2 starters Jake Peavy and Chris Young are on the disabled list -- Correia has made 19 starts, going 6-7 with a 4.34 ERA and never missing his turn in the rotation.

Correia, who turns 29 on Aug. 24, might be one of the best bargain-bin buys in the Major Leagues this season. The Padres signed him to a Minor League deal in the offseason after he spent parts of the previous six seasons in San Francisco.

Correia has tied his career high in starts and innings (110) and figures to get plenty of more work in the second half of the season.

He figures to gain more than just work, too.

When Correia starts on Thursday in Philadelphia, he'll trigger an incentive in his current contract that stipulates that he'll earn an additional $50,000. He'll earn the same amount every two starts up to 32 this season.

That means Correia's base salary of $750,000 could grow to $1 million.

The Padres control Correia after this season, though he would be eligible for arbitration if the team opted to offer him a contract for 2010.

Correia, who played locally at Grossmont High and Grossmont College, said he would just as soon stay put.

"I haven't really thought about leaving," Correia said. "There are a lot of starts left, and I still have a lot of work to do, but I love it here. It's my hometown. It's where I've always wanted to play.

"If I played here the rest of my career, I wouldn't be disappointed. I'm not going to think about it. I'm going to keep on focused on pitching well for this team."

Correia was 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in June and is 1-2 with a 4.76 in four starts this month. Correia made a change to his delivery earlier in the season so that he's not falling off the mound as much as well as using his curveball more than in recent starts.

"I like the staff here, the philosophy [pitching coach Darren] Balsley has," Correia said. "You can't always pick the place you want to be. That's just the way it is. They have given me a chance to pitch, and I think I've pitched well at times."

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.