Hoyer hunkers down, fields calls in Indy

Hoyer hunkers down, fields calls in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was Jed Hoyer's 36th birthday Monday, and the new Padres general manager spent just about every waking hour holed-up inside his suite at the Marriott with a handful of his staff.

Sound fun enough?

Oh, there was a cake, pushed off to the side of the room, perched atop a dozen Coke cans, but that was about the only visible reminder of Hoyer's birthday.

"Every year, my birthday is during the Winter Meetings," Hoyer said.

On his first day as a general manager at the Winter Meetings, Hoyer split the day with a series of meetings with staff, agents and other teams, potential trade partners, if, in fact, the Padres opt to go that route to improve their team.

Hoyer said that nothing -- meaning a free-agent signing or trade -- were imminent in a meeting with reporters Monday evening in Indianapolis.

It's believed the Padres fielded as much interest in their own players on Monday than any of the ones they're here to pursue at the Winter Meetings.

Hoyer said the Padres received "calls on a half-dozen of our guys today," which certainly isn't unusual for these Meetings. But these circumstances are a little unusual.

The Padres have four prominent players who are arbitration eligible: closer Heath Bell, pitchers Kevin Correia and Mike Adams, and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. The Padres have until Dec. 12 to tender contract offers to those players.

All four players, particularly Bell, are in line for raises.

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"We have not reached a definite conclusion," Hoyer said on whether the team will tender the quartet.

Bell, an All-Star for the first time in 2009 who led the National League in saves, is line for a big payday. He made $1.255 million last season but could make upwards of $5 million after saving 42 games in his first season as a Major League closer.

That would make him the second-highest paid player on the team -- pitcher Chris Young will earn $6.25 million -- and with the team looking at a payroll around $40 million (or possibly less) there's a chance the team might not want to pay him that much.

The Padres could sell high on Bell in their attempts to address their biggest need, a right-handed-hitting center fielder or catcher, with the hopes Luke Gregerson or Adams, their setup pitchers in 2009, could close. But the Padres like the composition of the bullpen and would rather add to it than subtract.

There were rumors Monday in Indianapolis that the Padres might opt to non-tender an offer to Correia, who won 12 games last season, had a 3.91 ERA and was dependable (198 innings).

Correia, a San Diego native, was a gem for former general manager Kevin Towers, who signed him to a Minor League deal worth $750,000 that eventually grew to $1.1 million in incentives.

The Padres still covet a starting pitcher, so non-tendering Correia or trading him doesn't make a great deal of sense unless it was a payroll dump. Correia, based on comparisons from a year ago, could make upwards of $3 million to $4 million.

"I'm still in the dark, I don't know their plan," Correia said from San Diego on Monday. "We [his agent and the Padres] haven't talked about it at all."

Hoyer is still looking to fill out his staff. On Friday, he hired Jason McLeod as the vice president of scouting and player development. Hoyer then promoted professional scout Chris Gwynn to director of player personnel and Josh Stein to director of Minor League operations.

Former Padres outfielder Dave Roberts was also hired as a special assistant to the team's baseball operations department where he'll work out outfielders.

Hoyer said his next hire will be scouting director and that could happen this week. The Los Angeles Times reported that Ric Wilson, a national cross-checker, has interviewed for the job.

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