All Quiet on the Western Front: Padres Steering Clear of Trade Rumors

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IJuly 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Jake Peavy #44 of the San Diego Padres throws a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

With just a few days to go before the trade deadline, I half expected the Padres to be active on the trade front. Not that they'd be buyers, but I thought there would be a lot more talk of teams looking for guys like Jake Peavy, Heath Bell, or at least Adrian Gonzalez.

The only rumor I've heard this past week was the possibility of Gonzalez going to Boston, which was quickly shot down by the Padres, saying they are absolutely not trading their All-Star first baseman.

Other than that, it's been eerily quiet out of San Diego. As of this past offseason, the Padres have elected not to talk about what players they are after or which players are being asked about from other teams.

Another article came out today from the LA Times' Mike DiGiovanna, saying the Angels have apparently called San Diego and offered some sort of package for closer Bell, though DiGiovanna says the Padres turned the offer down.

Peavy's stock took a hit when he suffered the ankle injury, and having been on the disabled list for the better part of a month and a half, it's shied a lot of teams away from making an offer on the Padres' ace. Not only that, but they know the Padres are going to ask a hefty price for them to unload Peavy—just ask the Cubs and White Sox.

You may remember a few months ago, it was the Philadelphia Phillies that were apparently thinking about making a run at Peavy.

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MLB.com's Todd Zolecki talked to Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, about the possibility of the right-hander going to Philadelphia, but Axelrod stated that he hadn't talked to Peavy about the Phillies because no deal had been brought to him, nor had the Padres talked to him about talking to Philadelphia about a trade.

The Phillies have since landed former Red Sox and Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez, and they could be close to landing Toronto right-hander Roy Halladay. Both of those additions could make the Phillies the automatic favorite to repeat as World Series Champions.

Other players that were said to be available—Kevin Correia, Chad Gaudin, Mike Adams, David Eckstein, and Kevin Kouzmanoff—haven't drawn much interest from other teams.

Corey Brock, who covers the Padres for MLB.com, had an article out on the possible trade candidates for the Padres but admitted that San Diego just isn't getting a lot of offers for guys not named Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell.

Brock also asked an interesting question to those Padres fans: Would you trade Gonzalez or Bell for a list of players that could impact the roster in 2010 and beyond?

I think that's a great question to ask and one that should get a lot of fans thinking. I've brought this up before; Adrian is going to make a truckload of money in free agency when his contract runs up with San Diego. I doubt the Padres are going to be willing to give him what he'll be asking for, especially with Kyle Blanks ready to take over first base, who, in a few years, could be a definite threat in the middle of the lineup.

As far as I'm concerned, Bell would be the harder one to replace than Gonzalez. The Padres don't have a bona fide closer in their system that could come up and shut the door on a one-run lead like Bell can. Bell spent a few seasons learning from longtime Padre closer and future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, and when Bell was handed the closing reins, he took the job and made it his own.

If Bell is dealt away, who will replace him and have that "closer's mentality?" As of right now, you've got guys like Luis Perdomo, Mike Adams, Joe Thatcher, Greg Burke, and Edward Mujica, none of which strike fear in opposing hitters. The only guy with closing experience is Burke since he was the closer for San Diego's Triple-A affiliate in Portland.

One thing to keep in mind, though: Padres general manager Kevin Towers has made a name for himself for making trades after the trade deadline has come and gone. He's made several waiver trades in the past, so don't be surprised if he goes that route this time around as well.

After the trade deadline, teams will begin to put their players through waivers, which will give teams a chance to bid on them, so you start to get a picture of who's interested in who. At that point, a trade scenario can then be talked about by both teams to see if a deal can be worked out.

Even if the Padres don't make any deals by Friday's deadline, it doesn't mean Towers and company don't still have something in the works. The Padres may be way out of contention, but if the front office plays this right, they could build this team into an instant contender in 2010—but it will take careful planning and the exact right moves to pull it off.

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