Padres hit Winter Meetings with irons in the fire

Padres hit Winter Meetings with irons in the fire

DALLAS -- First-year Padres general manager Josh Byrnes and his staff arrived here on Sunday in preparation for the start of baseball's annual Winter Meetings that begin on Monday.

They didn't arrive empty-handed.

"We've got a few conversations in both areas [trades and free agents]," Byrnes said. "I think we're open to anything where we can get better, or things that might make more sense for the long haul.

"There's five or 10 things that go to the front of the line to see if they have any traction."

The big question is, what will the Padres leave these meetings with?

A closer to replace three-time All-Star Heath Bell, whose three-year deal for $27 million with the Marlins is expected to become official on Monday?

Or will the Padres make a splash by making a trade in Dallas? It could certainly be a very interesting week for Byrnes, as he goes about looking for ways to improve a team that lost 91 games in 2011.

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Bud Black will meet with the media on Monday, and the manager of the Padres -- who is heading into his sixth season -- will give his thoughts on what has transpired so far in the offseason, and likely offer a preview of what's to come in 2012.

Daily news reports will be complemented by a nightly recap of each day's events, all of which can be found at Padres.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter for the latest information.

Also, the Rule 5 Draft, which begins at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, could be of interest to the Padres, who have been active in both the Major League and Minor League portions of the Draft in recent years.

So as Byrnes and his front-office staff settle in to talk about free agents and with other teams regarding players who might be available by trade, here's the chance for you to give your two cents.

What moves should be of the highest priority to Byrnes? What position do you think the Padres need to specifically address? Is it finding a replacement for Bell? Or possibly is it finding a bat for the offense for 2012? Sound off in the comments below.

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.