Padres have few holes to fill at Meetings

Padres have few holes to fill at Meetings

Club needs:

OUTFIELDER: New general manager Jed Hoyer heads to Indianapolis looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder. The Padres struggled mightily against left-handed pitching in 2009 and see a lot of it in the National League West. Could Reed Johnson, a free agent, be a low-cost option?

PITCHING: The Padres are also looking for help for the starting rotation and the bullpen. They are in better shape internally in the bullpen, especially with the 7-8-9 inning punch of Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams and Heath Bell. There are plenty of candidates for spots in the rotation, but the Padres wouldn't mind adding a proven arm.

BACKUP CATCHER: With Henry Blanco gone, the Padres will need a backup catcher for Nick Hundley.

INFIELD DEPTH: Hoyer would like to add a middle infielder to spell shortstop Everth Cabrera and second baseman David Eckstein, likely someone who is defensive-minded.

Whom they can or need to trade:

This is where it gets tricky. The Padres already have an abundance of outfielders and are looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder, preferably a center fielder. That means they could potentially trade third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and slide Chase Headley back to his original position. There's always a chance they could trade All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, but his contract is too affordable and his worth to the fan base is huge. Don't look for that to happen, not this offseason anyway.

Top prospects: Two of the Padres top prospects are third basemen, a position they're certainly stocked at right now. James Darnell, who was recently named their Minor League player of the year has good makeup, hits for power and isn't afraid to take a walk. The same goes for Logan Forsythe, another third baseman. On the pitching side, there's better depth after the team made two trades last July that netted seven pitchers. Top pitchers Simon Castro, Cory Luebke and Wynn Pelzer are considered the top arms in the system, but the Padres won't be amenable to moving them. Hoyer wants to build from within and trading away top prospects isn't the way to do that.

Big contracts they might unload:

Hoyer is in a nice spot because he doesn't have any big contracts on the book he needs to move. Former general manager Kevin Towers traded Jake Peavy and his big contract to the White Sox in July and outfielder Brian Giles and the $9 million he made are off the books. The highest-paid Padre in 2010 will be pitcher Chris Young ($6.25 million).


RP Heath Bell, 3B Kouzmanoff, SP Kevin Correia and RP Mike Adams.

Non-tender candidates:


Payroll summation: The Padres are again looking at a payroll in the $40 million range. CEO Jeff Moorad has said he wants to eventually grow the payroll, though that won't happen in 2010. Still, the Padres aren't tied to any long-term contracts and there is some money to spend in free agency. It might be easier for the team to add players through trades, though.

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