Correia: The Forgotten Padre?

While nearly all of the national attention on the Padres this year has focused on either A) Adrian Gonzalez or B) the astonishing lack of talent around Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Correia has quietly been one of the best pickups of last offseason, as Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune points out.

Correia signed a one-year, $750K minor-league deal with the Padres last winter. All he's done in 2009 is manage a 3.89 ERA, 138 strikeouts and 63 walks in 192 innings.

For a little contrast: Derek Lowe has pitched to a 4.55 ERA this season- in the first year of a four-year, $60MM contract.

Correia will be trying to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career Friday night. He's got a streak of 20 1/3 scoreless innings going, and in his last ten starts, has a 2.31 ERA.

All of which means he'll be much more expensive this winter. The Padres can offer arbitration and expect a significant raise will be forthcoming.

So what should San Diego do? Let a consistent pitcher who has finished particularly strong reach free agency as a non-tender? Or pay big bucks for a pitcher just a year removed from a 6.05 ERA?

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