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Red Sox get Payton, Vazquez, prospect and cash

SAN DIEGO -- Outfielder Dave Roberts, whose stolen base
helped the Boston Red Sox rally to an unprecedented playoff
comeback, 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.

With the Red Sox facing a sweep, Roberts pinch ran after Rivera
walked Kevin Millar to lead off the ninth. After some pickoff
throws, Roberts stole second and scored the tying run on Bill Mueller's single.

The Red Sox won that game and three more to eliminate the
Yankees, then swept the St. Louis Cardinals for to win their first
World Series since 1918.

"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.

"I grew up a San Diego Padres fan," he said. "That's all I
knew when I was younger, watching guys like Tony Gwynn. It didn't
seem like this could ever happen. It's something I wanted so much
my whole life. To be given this opportunity, I'm going to embrace
it and do everything I can to be productive and help this team
win."

Boston acquired Roberts from the Dodgers at the July 31 trade
deadline last season, and he played 45 games while filling in in
the outfield.

"He really wanted to go to a situation where he could play
every day," Epstein said. "He wasn't really going to play much
here, barring injury."

Roberts had 33 steals in 34 attempts with the Dodgers, compared
to Boston's team total of 40 when the trade was made.

"We felt like one glaring need was a tablesetter, someone who
can make things happen at the top of the lineup," said Padres
general manager Kevin Towers, who predicted Roberts will steal 60
bases. "We needed to inject some speed. I'm also excited about his
enthusiasm. He's a guy who's really a spark. He has tons of
energy."

In 68 games with the Dodgers, Roberts batted .253 with a .340
on-base percentage, scored 45 runs and had 28 walks. He finished
the season with 38 stolen bases in 41 attempts, and for his career
has 135 steals in 167 attempts.

Roberts is arbitration eligible, and Towers thinks the two sides
can work out a deal by the end of the week.

Payton, 32, is a career .285 hitter with 77 homers and 300 RBI
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 RBI for the Padres last season and had his best
season in '03, when he batted .302 with 28 homers and 89 RBI for
Colorado.

Vazquez, 28, hit .262 with six homers and 79 RBI 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.