There’s an old adage in labor relations circles that goes something like this: If an employer is willing to contest your firing, and pay you to leave the premises, that’s a pretty good indication of how much they want you out of there.
Releasing Todd Walker is a no-brainer for the Padres. Yes, of course the decision is about money; just don’t expect the organization to broadcast it. It’s like when a pitcher plunks a batter the inning after one of his guys has been hit. The “oh, the ball just slipped out of my hand” explanation automatically follows after the game.
Kevin Towers coming right out and saying “we cut Todd Walker to save money” would be like Jake Peavy ‘fessing up with “yep, I hit Barry Bonds with two outs and first base open because it’s the obvious thing to do, he takes steroids, he’s a division rival, and we don’t like him personally.”
Walker is a thoroughly average utility man, who doesn’t play any position particularly well, and is completely lacking in the power-hitting department. And the club was pissed about his $4 million arbitration award. Walker’s job should go to an up-and-comer making major league minimum. There’s no mystery.
The players union can squawk all it likes. The Padres will write another check if they have to, but there’s no reason for them to shell out now.
Remember, glove conquers all.
— HOWARD COLE