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Category: San Diego Padres

Padres: Jeff Moorad in, Sandy Alderson out

Jefff Moorad Jeff Moorad said this afternoon he would replace Sandy Alderson as the Padres' chief executive officer when the partnership headed by Moorad completes its purchase of the club from outgoing owner John Moores.

The Padres announced today that a purchase agreement has been reached. The deal is expected to close and the sale to become official by opening day. Moorad, who got his start in baseball as a powerful player agent, formerly served as the chief executive of the Diamondbacks.

Moorad said he had not spoken with General Manager Kevin Towers or assistant Paul DePodesta, the former Dodgers general manager recruited to the Padres by Alderson. He said those executives would remain in place through at least the 2009 season.

"I want to come in with an open mind," Moorad said. "As I have viewed the front office from afar, there are a lot of very capable people. ... I think we will use the '09 season as an opportunity to assess and evaluate."

Moorad said he did not anticipate that the Padres could generate the level of revenue needed to become major players in free agency.

"Kevin Towers has done a fabulous job of building the club over the last 10 or 12 years by staying out of free agency," Moorad said.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Jeff Moorad, 2006 file photo. Credit: Will Powers / Associated Press

Trevor Hoffman to decide on Thursday between Dodgers and Brewers

The Dodgers will learn Thursday whether Trevor Hoffman will be their closer this year.

Rick Thurman, the agent for Hoffman, said via text message this afternoon that the pitcher "will be making [his] decision tomorrow."

Hoffman, baseball’s all-time saves leader, has what Thurman called "similar" offers from the Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers. Thurman declined to elaborate, but both clubs are believed to have offered one guaranteed year and one option year, at an annual salary above the $4 million offered last fall by the San Diego Padres.

The Padres withdrew that offer in November. Hoffman, 41, earned all but two of his 554 career saves for San Diego.

He grew up in Orange County, the kid brother of former major league infielder and interim Dodgers manager Glenn Hoffman. He lives in northern San Diego County.

-- Bill Shaikin

Dodgers' PR alums moving on up

Derrick Hall When Frank and Jamie McCourt bought the Dodgers in 2004, they asked Derrick Hall to remain as the club spokesman. Hall declined, went to work for KB Homes, then got back into baseball in 2005, joining the Diamondbacks as senior vice president of communications.

Hall was promoted to chief executive today when Jeff Moorad resigned to pursue ownership of the Padres. John Moores, the current owner of the Padres, is exploring the sale of all or part of the club amid his divorce proceedings.

Hall had served as the Diamondbacks' president since 2006.

Camille Johnston, who was the Dodgers' spokeswoman from 2005 to '07, recently was named special assistant to President-elect Barack Obama and director of communications for the incoming first lady, Michelle Obama.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Arizona Diamondbacks' Derrick Hall. Credit: Shaun Rachau / Arizona Diamondbacks

Jake Peavy likely to open season with Padres

Jake Peavy

The San Diego Union-Tribune quotes Padres CEO Sandy Alderson today as saying ace Jake Peavy "likely will be with us opening day," which would greatly decrease the chances of the ace right-hander being traded to the Angels.

The Padres have been trying to trade Peavy since October, and talks with two teams he prefers, the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs, broke down. The Angels like Peavy, who has four years and $63 million remaining on a contract that includes a full no-trade clause, and they planned to pursue him if they are unable to retain free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira.

But the Padres no longer appear to be shopping Peavy.

“We said from the very beginning in connection with both of those possibilities that we would not make a trade unless it made baseball sense,” Alderson told the Union-Tribune. “We are no longer actively pursuing any trade for Jake, which is not to say someone won't approach us.”

--Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Jake Peavy. Credit: Alex Diaz / AP

Angels asked Padres to package Peavy and Gonzalez

Jake Peavy The Angels asked the Padres about pitcher Jake Peavy and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez during the recently completed winter meetings in Las Vegas, according to Padres General Manager Kevin Towers.

In an interview with XX Sports Radio in San Diego, Towers confirmed that he had talked with the Angels about Peavy.

"They also asked about Adrian Gonzalez in the same package," Towers said.

Towers joked that he might as well be included in that trade as well because he would need a new job were he to trade Gonzalez, San Diego's best and most affordable position player.

That the Angels would ask about Gonzalez is no joke, though. It's more evidence that the Angels are hoping to sign Mark Teixeira, but also planning for life without him. Gonzalez could play first base next season--if the Angels miss out on Teixeira and the Padres would trade Gonzalez.

The Angels expressed interest in left fielder Raul Ibanez -- that would have left Kendry Morales at first. But Ibanez on Friday took a three-year, $30-million deal from the Phillies rather than wait to see what happens with Teixeira.

In exchange for Peavy, Towers said earlier this week, the Padres want three or four players who are ready for the major leagues. If the Padres really could get what they probably would want for Peavy and Gonzalez -- given the asking price for Peavy and the relative affordability of Gonzalez -- they might be able to fill an entire lineup.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy in a 2007 file photo. Credit: Denis Poroy / Associated Press

Peavy-to-Cubs deal is off; Angels on deck?

Jake Peavy LAS VEGAS--Don't count the Angels completely out on Jake Peavy. A proposed three-team deal that would have sent the San Diego ace to the Chicago Cubs collapsed today, with the Cubs telling Padres General Manager Kevin Towers they "are moving on," and Towers may have nowhere else to turn but the Angels.

Peavy, who has four years and $63 million remaining on his contract and a full no-trade clause, has made it clear he would only approve a deal to a handful of National League clubs, and the Padres worked throughout the winter meetings on a three-way trade with the Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.

But the Angels, who expressed considerable interest in Peavy in November, have remained in contact with Towers about him at the winter meetings, and they remain interested in a possible deal.

The Angels, of course, are in the American League, but they believe they can sell Peavy on the merits of playing for a perennial contender near his North San Diego County home. They also have the kind of young talent, such as shortstop Erick Aybar, pitchers Jered Weaver or Nick Adenhart, and center fielder Reggie Willits, that would interest Towers.

But any deal for Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner and a two-time All-Star, would probably hinge on whether the Angels can retain free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, who will probably command a deal in the eight-year, $160-million range.

If Teixeira returns, the chances of acquiring Peavy would diminish because the right-hander is owed $11 million in 2009, $15 million in 2010, $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012. His deal includes a 2013 option for $22 million with a $4-million buyout.

But if the Angels, who are actively pursuing a starting pitcher, don't re-sign Teixeira, they would have the financial resources to acquire Peavy.

--Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Jake Peavy. Credit: Denis Poroy / AP

Free-agent market may heat up with Sabathia deal; Manny Ramirez, A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Jake Peavy all still available

LAS VEGAS -- Hours before his team reached a record-setting agreement with pitcher CC Sabathia, Yankee Manager Joe Girardi was asked why the free-agent market had been so slow to develop this winter.

"You know, that's probably not something that I understand or know," he said. "You think sometimes once one guy goes, things start to fall into place, and maybe when one guy goes, they don't have the offers from that team anymore and it starts to take shape. I think once someone goes, you'll see it maybe pick up a little bit."

Sabathia, who will jump from the Brewers to the Yankees, accepting a seven-year deal reportedly worth $160 million, is the second big-name free agent to switch teams, following closer Francisco Rodriguez, who Tuesday accepted the Mets' three-year, $37-million offer to leave the Angels. And if Girardi's right, those signings figure to free up money the Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels and others had been saving.

The Angels and Dodgers seemed pessimistic about Sabathia even before the 28-year-old left-hander reached terms with the Yankees early today, with the Angels saying they had made free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira their top priority and the Dodgers meeting with agent Scott Boras to discuss Manny Ramirez.

But for those teams still looking for pitchers, the cupboard is hardly bare. The Braves are believed to be close to a deal with right-hander A.J. Burnett, although the Yankees are also pursing Burnett and those talks could soon accelerate. Boras is telling interested parties that former Dodger Derek Lowe wants $80 million over five years, a price that could drop even in the wake of Sabathia's record contract. The Yankees and Phillies were among those reportedly interested in Lowe. And another former Dodger, Brad Penny, is also looking for work and could wind up replacing Burnett, his former Marlin teammate, in Toronto.

The Cubs, meanwhile, could be closing in on a complicated deal with the Padres to acquire former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, the Indians are near completion of a deal with free-agent closer Kerry Wood and the Rangers are talking with free-agent right-hander Ben Sheets. Other pitchers who could change teams soon include Seattle closer J.J. Putz, who has drawn the interest of the Tigers, and former Yankee Carl Pavano, whose agent has met with representatives of the Marlins.

-- Kevin Baxter

It's a Black winter in San Diego

Bud Black

LAS VEGAS –- Padres Manager Bud Black, who lives year-around in San Diego, was asked Monday if anyone has bothered to ask him how a team that won a division title in 2006 could have fallen to last by 2008.

“Neighbors have," Black said. "Friends have.”

Those friends and neighbors also are asking how a team that had a $74-million payroll last season could start the 2009 season at about half of that total.

Black said that he tries to be positive when he's asked those kinds of questions –- or as positive as is possible given the circumstances.

“Get on board early,” the former Angel pitching coaching said with a laugh. “It’s brewing. You don’t want to miss out.”

But in a serious vein, Black admitted that it can be tough to remain positive when your team already has traded its starting shortstop, turned it back on all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman and is trying to deal former Cy Young Award-winner Jake Peavy.

“Every game that we take the field I expect us to win, regardless of our payroll, the other team’s payroll, their players, our players,” Black said. “So I don’t think about all of those things. My job, those of us in uniform, the coaches and the players, our job is to prepare to play and go out and do everything we can to win a game.

“All of those other things are, to me –- I don’t want to say not on my mind. But they are not at the forefront of my mind of what I have to do in my job.

“The Padres situation is different than a lot of other people’s situations. But still, every game, I think we all have the same expectations to win.”

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: San Diego Padres manager Bud Black. Credit: Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

Padres GM expects Jake Peavy trade talks to end by Thursday -- one way or another

Jake Peavy

LAS VEGAS -- If the Padres can't trade Jake Peavy by the end of this week's winter meetings, General Manager Kevin Towers plans to tell the world he's keeping his ace.

"My hope is, by Thursday, we either know there's a deal to be done," Towers said, "or ... we'll make a statement that he'll be with us."

The time has come, Towers said, for the Padres to start addressing priorities beyond Peavy. He said the Cubs are the only team with which he is negotiating, with the Cubs working to involve a third team so that more players can be sent to San Diego.

"We need to get better in San Diego," Towers said. "Any deal we do would have to involve two or three or four major league-ready prospects."

Peavy has a no-trade clause, and Towers says he has informed the Padres he would waive it to join the Cubs or the Dodgers. He would not waive it, Towers said, to join the Angels, Yankees or any other American League team.

Towers said he has not spoken with Dodgers GM Ned Colletti about Peavy since last month's meeting of general managers in Dana Point.

"I gave Ned an idea of the type of players we'd be focusing on," Towers said. "It may have scared him off."

The package probably would have started with Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw, leaving the Dodgers to trade one starter for another and then lose additional young players.

Said Colletti: "We would need more very good young players in order to make a match. And we had other things more pressing and prudent in our mind."

Is that still the case?

"Yeah," he said. "Have you checked our roster lately?"

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Jake Peavy pitches against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in September. Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images

Dodgers still looking as shortstops land elsewhere

Rafael Furcal tags out Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.

Two shortstops are gone, and maybe a third. The Giants have signed Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals acquired Khalil Greene from the Padres, and the Tigers reportedly are pushing hard to acquire Jack Wilson from the Pirates*.

The Dodgers still don't have a shortstop, with management unconvinced that Chin-lung Hu can hit major league pitching, at least not now. They say they're still interested in bringing back Rafael Furcal, but their decision not to offer him arbitration says they weren't interested in him accepting a one-year contract if it might cost them in the range of $13 million, which is the same as his 2008 salary.

It is unlikely that Furcal could have gotten much of a raise in arbitration, given that he was limited to 36 games last season because of a back injury and subsequent surgery.

Other than Furcal, who visited last week with the Oakland A's, the top remaining free-agent shortstop is Orlando Cabrera. The White Sox offered him arbitration, so the Dodgers would have to surrender their first-round draft choice to sign him, and they would prefer to explore other options. But it's a steep drop from Furcal and Cabrera to the likes of Alex Cora, Cesar Izturis and David Eckstein, so the Dodgers will be talking trade at next week's winter meetings.

The Angels are satisfied with Erick Aybar, who had an eventful week in winter ball, and are not looking for a shortstop.

-- Bill Shaikin

* Corrected Wilson's team from Padres to the Pirates.

Photo: Rafael Furcal tags out Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley to end the first inning of Game Three of the NLCS on Oct. 12. Credit: 26) to Gary A. Vasquez / US PRESSWIRE

Braves exit Peavy bidding; Dodgers or Angels to enter?

Jake Peavy

The Atlanta Braves, long rumored as the likely destination for Jake Peavy, have bowed out of trade talks with the San Diego Padres, according to MLB.com.

The Braves were one of three teams listed as preferred destinations by Peavy, who has the right to approve any trade. The Dodgers and Chicago Cubs were the other two, and Peavy's agent has said the Angels might work too, since Peavy plans to keep his home in the San Diego area.

The Padres want young pitching, a young shortstop so they can trade Khalil Greene and a young center fielder. Young means inexpensive -- they're trading Peavy as part of a payroll purge -- and that means the Padres would not be interested in Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones or Gary Matthews Jr.

The Dodgers are a bit thin on prospects, since they traded six last summer to acquire Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake and Greg Maddux. They don't have a center fielder to offer, as they're not trading Matt Kemp, so they probably would have to include Chad Billingsley or James McDonald, Scott Elbert and either Chin-lung Hu or Ivan DeJesus Jr.

That might not be enough, but even if it were, the Dodgers might have to add $15 million to their payroll to cover the cost of Peavy, the veteran starter to replace Billingsley or McDonald -- Randy Johnson or Paul Byrd? -- and the veteran backup infielder to replace Hu or DeJesus. Might as well sign CC Sabathia.

The Angels rarely trade young pitching. They haven't traded a top starting prospect in eight years (former first-round pick Seth Etherton). Jered Weaver, a fly-ball pitcher, would be a nice fit in Petco Park, and he's four years from free agency. The Angels have young shortstops in Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis and Sean Rodriguez. They haven't produced a significant outfield prospect since Darin Erstad, so they'd probably have to throw in some more pitching, and they wouldn't offer the Marlins more than one pitcher last winter for Miguel Cabrera.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: San Diego Padres' Jake Peavy in a game in August in Phoenix. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press

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