Now Commenting On:

{"content":["hot_stove" ] }

Friars still seeking backup backstop

Friars still seeking backup backstop

SAN DIEGO -- Padres general manager Kevin Towers said Tuesday that the lone missing piece to his offseason wish list is finding a veteran catcher to back up and mentor rookie Nick Hundley.

But the player believed to be one of his top targets, veteran Brad Ausmus, reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $1 million on Wednesday with the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to FOXSports.com.

The Padres, who are about $5 million over their projected $40 million payroll, probably wouldn't -- or couldn't -- offer Ausmus a similar deal as the one he apparently agreed to with the Dodgers, as it might have been along the lines of the contract infielder David Eckstein ($850,000) signed last week.

So what now?

Towers indicated that he wanted to sign a catcher by the end of the week to help mentor and serve as a backup to Hundley, who impressed during his rookie season.

Ausmus, who makes his home in nearby Del Mar, Calif., was a player Towers talked too often during the offseason. The two are also friends.

Now it appears the Padres will have to look elsewhere or settle on using Eliezer Alfonzo, who agreed to a Minor League contract in December and received an invitation to Spring Training, as their primary backup.

Alfonzo has Major League experience with the Giants in 2006 and '07.

Either way, Hundley projects as a catcher who can handle the bulk of the catching duties.

Hundley hit .237 in 60 games, but showed some pop (five home runs), the ability to slow the opposition from running (he threw out 14 would-be base stealers) and a knack for handling a pitching staff after his July promotion from Triple-A Portland.

A year ago, the Padres felt very good about breaking camp with Josh Bard and Michael Barrett as their catching tandem. But Bard and Barrett were injured most of the season, playing in a combined 87 games.

Hot Stove

Bard and Barrett were essentially released following the season. Bard is now with the Red Sox, while Barrett has landed in Toronto after signing a Minor League deal.

Besides Hundley, the only other catcher on the Padres' 40-man roster is Jose Lobaton, who hasn't played about the Double-A level.

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

{"content":["hot_stove" ] }
{"content":["hot_stove" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español