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Padres have work to do after Meetings

Padres have work to do after Meetings

LAS VEGAS -- The Padres tabled their plans this week at the Winter Meetings of filling needs of a team that lost 99 games last season as general manager Kevin Towers and his entire baseball operations staff devoted themselves to getting a deal done for Jake Peavy.

That meant setting aside areas of concern with their roster -- finding more middle-infield help, a backup catcher and help for their bench, rotation and bullpen -- as they attempted to move Peavy for pieces that would make them better in 2009.

So now what?

"Now we need to start moving forward," Towers said.

Towers plans on talking to Padres CEO Sandy Alderson when he returns to San Diego on Monday as well as talk to Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, in the coming days to see what's next.

That would amount to seeing if Peavy, who has a no-trade clause, would entertain going somewhere other than the National League or pulling him off the trading block altogether and moving forward into the 2009 season with him at the top of the rotation.

Towers expects to be busy between now and the Christmas holiday looking to fill needs, though he expects to find a few bargains after the first of the year. But if the team opts to retain Peavy and his $11 million salary for 2009, there won't be much money to spend on free agents.

The Padres are looking at a payroll of $40 million and have already committed $9 million to right fielder Brian Giles. Add in Peavy's $11 million and there's not a lot of money to spend.

That might mean the Padres will be active on the trade front as they go about addressing their needs, though they're reluctant to move some of their top young talent.

"We could do some things," Towers said.

The Padres have already talked to veteran catcher Brad Ausmus, who lives in nearby Del Mar, about signing with the team. The Padres are looking for a backup catcher to mentor and spell rookie Nick Hundley, who impressed over the final two months of the season.

Two newcomers, shortstop Everth Cabrera and pitcher Ivan Nova, added to the 40-man roster in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, will lend depth to the roster but certainly will not be counted on for significant contributions, as neither has played above the Class A level.

Deals done: None. As mentioned above, the Padres tried to get a deal done with Peavy this week, but that fell through Thursday when talks with the Cubs fizzled.

Rule 5 activity: The Padres selected two players in the Major League phase -- Cabrera from the Rockies and Nova of the Yankees. The Padres like Cabrera's defense and speed. They needed middle-infield depth after trading Khalil Greene to the Cardinals last week.

Goals accomplished: Again, not a lot, as not being able to move Peavy and his $11 million salary in 2009 -- and $63 million over the next four seasons -- didn't enable the Padres to fill holes with players they would have obtained in the deal.

Unfinished business: Plenty, as the Padres must now decide to move forward with talks for Peavy or simply pull him off the trading block as Towers has suggested. The team still needs pitching, starters and relievers, a backup catcher and more middle-infield help. These needs might have to be met through trades.

GM's bottom line: "I would imagine when we get back to San Diego we'll sit down with Sandy and talk to Barry and see how we want to handle it moving forward." -- Towers

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

{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }