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Padres meet goals, but there's more work to do

Padres meet goals, but there's more work to do

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Monday's trade of Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox certainly wasn't the first trade Padres second-year general manager Jed Hoyer has made in his time in San Diego, though it might prove to be the most important.

The Padres added four players -- including Boston's top prospect, pitcher Casey Kelly -- in the deal.

"I really feel that you need to have pitching depth, and adding some depth was important for us," Hoyer said.

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The trade, of course, was made with the future in mind, as the four players the Padres received won't likely find their way to PETCO Park until 2012.

But Hoyer also made some inroads on the 2011 25-man roster before he left the Winter Meetings.

Hoyer signed two free-agent pitchers this week, right-handers Dustin Moseley and Aaron Harang, to help fill the starting rotation. Both signed one-year deals.

The Padres are also believed to be closing in on a deal for Tampa Bay shortstop Jason Bartlett, a move that would fill one of their biggest needs this winter.

But there's still work to be done.

"Our priorities at this point are first base and second base," Hoyer said. "After that, we'll focus on the bench."

The Padres will attempt to follow a plan that worked well for them a year ago: hoping that the price for players -- either free agents or players who could be obtained through trades -- drops the closer the team gets to Spring Training.

A year ago the Padres signed pitcher Jon Garland, catcher Yorvit Torrealba and infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. in mid-January. There's a good chance they could fill their needs after Christmas again.

So where to go next?

If the Padres do land Bartlett, they can turn their attention to finding a second baseman and a backup catcher, then move to shoring up their bench.

In terms of the vacancy at second base, Hoyer said that he won't close the door on two familiar faces, veterans David Eckstein and Hairston. Both played prominent roles on the Padres' 90-win team in 2010.

Deals done: The Padres started the Winter Meetings with a bang on Monday, when the Gonzalez trade became official. The Padres picked up three Minor League prospects, including a player to be named, and they later signed Harang and Moseley to help fill their rotation.

Rule 5 activity: The Padres, who lost two relievers this winter and could potentially lose two more if the Bartlett trade goes through, selected right-handed reliever George Kontos in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. Kontos underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009, and his velocity is just now coming back. He has a plus-slider that could play well against right-handed hitters.

Goals accomplished: The Padres certainly grew younger with the three players acquired from the Red Sox. The Padres' hope is that these three will play a prominent role in the team's success for years to come, though none of them will likely be a full-time player before 2012. In addition, of course, acquiring Harang and Moseley essentially completes their starting rotation.

Unfinished business: Got a minute? The Padres added two pitchers but leave these Meetings still looking for a replacement for Gonzalez at first base, a shortstop (if the Bartlett trade doesn't happen), a second baseman and a backup catcher. They will eventually need to address the bench, though that will come after their main priorities have been filled.

GM's bottom line: "I think we're going to be able to go out this offseason now that we've made this decision [trading Gonzalez] early, and we will be able to sign some free agents and make some moves. By no means are we giving up on 2011. We'll fill some other holes, but we felt like this is the right move for the long-term health of the franchise." -- Hoyer, after the Gonzalez deal was completed

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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