12/05/07 12:49 AM ET
Padres focused on finding outfielder
Japan's Fukudome, Astros' Scott on list of candidates
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
"We are in full-bore outfield mode," Towers during the second day of the meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
To that end, the Padres have taken an aggressive tact to satisfy their biggest need, as they have made an offer to Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome and have had talks with the Houston Astros about right fielder Luke Scott.
The 29-year-old Scott hit .255 with 18 home runs and 64 RBIs in 132 games for Houston last season, though he has essentially been pushed out of the Astros' outfield picture by newly acquired Michael Bourn, with Hunter Pence moving to right field.
There was an unconfirmed report late Tuesday that the Astros and Padres were unable to reach a deal.
Towers confirmed the offer to Fukudome, though he wouldn't talk specifics as far as the length of the offer or how much money was part of the deal. Fukudome is said to want a three-year deal, no more, no less.
One baseball source Tuesday put that figure at $8 million per season, though that figure could climb higher, especially if the other deep-pocket teams in the mix (Dodgers, White Sox and Cubs) get in a bidding war.
"There's some interest," Towers said about Fukudome. "I think we did a good job laying in the weeds early on him."
Not anymore, as the Padres interest in Fukudome -- as well as that of the other teams who are looking for an outfield upgrade -- have been fully disclosed at these Winter Meetings.
In fact, circle the massive lobby or any other alcove of the resort and you'll find that his name is mentioned more prevalently than the other free-agent outfielders, Andruw Jones or Aaron Rowand.
New Royals manager Trey Hillman, who managed the last five years in Japan, was very impressed with Fukudome and said Tuesday that he could make an impact at the Major League level immediately.
"I think he's a run-producer. Just throwing it out there -- five, six, somewhere in there [in the batting order]," Hillman said. "Possibly after getting acclimated with the league and the pitching he's facing, maybe even a three. I don't think he's got the consistent slug of a No. 4."
Fukudome's Seattle-based agent, Joe Urbon, isn't in Nashville this week, but that hasn't stopped him from having contact with teams. Urbon won't comment on what teams are interested in Fukudome but said he would like to narrow that list down to a "manageable few" by the end of the week.
Unlike Fukudome, Scott is a proven commodity, although it will take something that the Padres don't want to part with to get him: prospects.
The Padres are hoping as part of his research into potential teams, Fukudome speaks with former Padres relief pitcher Akinori Otsuka, who "had a positive experience in San Diego," Towers said.
A baseball source Tuesday confirmed the Padres and Astros have had discussions, but that should surprise no one since new Houston general manager Ed Wade was recently employed by the Padres as a professional scout.
Wade made a deal last September with the Padres, his first with the Astros, sending outfielder Jason Lane to San Diego in the final week of the regular season.
Wade, who is obviously familiar with the Padres Minor League system, likely will ask for prospects, though Towers indicated that third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Matt Antonelli are nearly untouchable.
The Padres might be willing to part with a Major League reliever like Wilfredo Ledezma and possibly a Minor League prospect like catcher Nick Hundley or even pitchers Josh Geer or Wade LeBlanc.
Elsewhere Tuesday, Towers said there have been more talks with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry regarding Mark Prior, a pitcher the Padres covet. The Cubs have told Towers what it would take to get Prior, though he wouldn't divulge what exactly that is.
The Padres might also have interest in Toronto right-hander Josh Towers or possibly St. Louis righty Anthony Reyes. Both would have to be acquired via trades.
If the Padres can't swing a deal for Prior, they feel good about two fall-back options they have targeted in veteran free agents Shawn Estes and Glendon Rusch.
The Padres likely are waiting until after the Rule 5 draft Thursday to sign one or both of the players so that they would have the flexibility to add them to the 40-man roster while moving players off it.
Estes, 34, has appeared in one Major League game since 2005. He had elbow surgery in 2006 and was making Minor League rehabilitation appearances when he aggravated his elbow in August, causing the Padres to shut him down for the rest of the season.
The 33-year-old Rusch didn't pitch last season after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his right lung in September of 2006. He has a career 60-94 record.
Peavy's numbers: Towers confirmed that Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy's three-year extension is worth $51.9 million and is worth $17.3 million over three years with a $22 million option for 2013.
The Padres own a buyout on that club option for $4 million.
Peavy still has to pass a physical, but the deal is essentially done. The team could make an official announcement sometime next week.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.