Padres ready to warm up winter
Club may have several moves percolating after Meetings
NASHVILLE -- The Winter Meetings came to a close on Thursday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, though the San Diego Padres offseason goings-on might just be starting to heat up.
Officially, the Padres did not sign a free agent or make a deal during their four days here, though they have laid the groundwork on a one-year deal for free agent outfielder Milton Bradley, stayed in the mix for Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome and continued their talks with several teams about trades as well as free agents.
San Diego has also agreed to deals with free-agent pitcher Randy Wolf and extended Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy on a three-year contract for $51.9 million, though those two deals have yet to be officially announced.
On Friday, the team will find out if free agent catcher Michael Barrett and center fielder Mike Cameron will accept the team's arbitration offers. The Padres think that Barrett will accept, though they're still not sure on Cameron, who is said to be considering a two-year offer from the team.
The Padres, by all accounts, could have been a lot busier this week, though they stuck to their guns, opting to hold onto their top Minor League prospects, rather than dealing them as they have in recent years.
"We've had more dialog with agents than trade discussions," general manager Kevin Towers said. "We would much rather sign a free agent than dip into our farm system."
The Padres refused to part with third baseman Chase Headley -- a player who was talked about plenty this week -- and second baseman Matt Antonelli, who will be considered for the job in Spring Training.
The Padres selected utility man Callix Crabbe from the Brewers during Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. He could push Antonelli at second base, though might be better suited to help the team off the bench, as Towers likened him to a "super utility man."
The Padres are nearing signing Bradley, who is coming off major knee surgery, to a one-year deal worth between $3.5 and $4 million, a baseball source said on Thursday. Should Bradley sign, the Padres likely wouldn't have interest in free agent Geoff Jenkins.
As for Fukudome, he's said to be looking for a four-year deal. The Cubs have reportedly submitted the highest offer to this point, a source said, though the Padres are still in the mix for the 30-year-old who can play any of the three outfield positions. Two days after Towers confirmed an offer had been made to Fukudome, Padres CEO Sandy Alderson told the Associated Press late Thursday that the Padres' offer to Fukudome was "one of the two or three biggest offers" in team history.
Deals done: Well, none, at least officially. The Padres will announce on Friday the signing of free agent pitcher Wolf to a one-year deal worth $4 million, a deal that could end up at $9 million with incentives. The Padres also reached an agreement in principle on a three-year, $51.9 million extension with Cy Young Award winner Peavy.
Rule 5 activity: The Padres selected pitcher Michael Gardner from the Yankees and infielder-outfielder Crabbe from the Brewers in the Major League phase of the draft. San Diego then traded cash to the Marlins for reliever Carlos Guevara, who Florida selected from the Reds. Guevara and Crabbe have the best chance to stick all season.
Goals accomplished: The Padres haven't officially signed an outfielder -- which was their biggest offseason need -- though they're close to a one-year deal to retain free agent Bradley. They're still in on Japanese free agent Fukudome as well. Wrapping up Wolf before the meetings was big, as he'll be their No. 4 starter.
Unfinished business: The Padres will know on Friday if catcher Barrett and outfielder Cameron accept arbitration offers from the team. Barrett is likely to accept and return. Cameron's agent maintains he likely will not accept the offer, though the market hasn't been strong for Cameron. The team is still interested in Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, but might turn to its in-house candidates to fill the No. 5 spot. Towers said on Thursday that pitcher Glendon Rusch has an offer for a Minor League deal on the table, though he's also being looked at by a handful of other teams. Shawn Estes, another veteran pitcher, is a safe bet to sign a Minor League deal.
GM's bottom line: "We value our prospects a great deal. Our hope is to put our team together and keep our farm system intact." -- Towers, on his reluctance on moving top prospects, like third baseman Headley
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.