Padres eye starting pitchers as Trade Deadline nears

Padres eye starting pitchers as Trade Deadline nears

SAN DIEGO -- The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline might be over a month away, but the Padres are well into their preparations for potentially adding a pitcher to bolster their starting rotation.

"I think we're spending our time and energy talking about it," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. "This is a good team, but there's areas we'll try to improve on. I've spent a lot [of time] on the phones, getting our scouts in the right places, talking through scenarios."

The Padres entered play Wednesday with the second-highest ERA among starting pitchers (4.61) in the National League. Only the Brewers' starters (4.98 ERA) have struggled more.

The Padres have been linked to Matt Garza (Cubs) and Ricky Nolasco (Marlins), though both players will be eligible for free agency after the season. The Padres' preference, in a perfect world at least, would be to add a pitcher the team could control beyond 2013.

"As with most teams, we're not going to be totally short-term focused," Byrnes said. "We still have to balance the short term and long term. Giving up prospects is a big deal to us and getting a player back who might only be here half the year … we've got to balance all of that out."

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.