PHILADELPHIA -- Tadahito Iguchi could have signed for multiple years and significantly more money from the Phillies in the offseason.

One problem: Chase Utley is going to be at second base for a long time.

Instead of accepting a shift to third base, a position he had never played, Iguchi opted to sign a one-year, free-agent contract with the Padres to strictly play second base.

"It was tough to leave," Iguchi said through an interpreter. "I think at the same time, they have a guy who plays the same position that I do."

Iguchi pondered the Phillies' offer after such a successful 45-game stint last season. He was traded on July 27 in exchange for pitching prospect Michael Dubee and hit .304 (42-of-138) as the Phillies won the National League East and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1993.

"I turned down a lot more money," Iguchi said. "It was a tough decision."

The decision was even tougher because of the Phillies' run to the playoffs after Iguchi was acquired.

"Although I was only here for two months, to be able to take over the NL East division on the last day was a great feeling," Iguchi said. "It was a real fun ride. The memories will always be on my mind."

Iguchi entered Tuesday's game hitting .224 (22-for-98) with one homer and four RBIs. A career .276 hitter, Iguchi knows his offense will come around. More importantly, he'll have that opportunity at second base, rather than a part-time role with the Phillies or a position he was unfamiliar with at third.

"I don't think I'd be able to offer [the Phillies] what I can offer now," Iguchi said.