INDIANAPOLIS -- The Padres, budget-conscious and dangling third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff as a way to control costs, have talked to the San Francisco Giants and Minnesota Twins -- among others -- about a deal.
The Giants are considering several options as they look to add a bat to a light-hitting lineup that had trouble scoring last year. Kouzmanoff, due for a big arbitration raise this winter from his $432,000 salary in 2009, is one of them. A steady defensive player who finished second in the Gold Glove voting in '09, Kouzmanoff would give the Giants a 20-home run bat and improve their defense. In a Kouzamanoff scenario, the Giants could move Pablo Sandoval over to first base.
The Padres also Tuesday approached the Twins about Kouzmanoff. Those two clubs have had discussions about Kouzmanoff in the past, but the Twins have not been overly interested.
As of Tuesday afternoon, neither discussion had advanced very far, according to sources with knowledge of the talks. Within the Giants-Padres discussions, San Francisco was talking of a deal that would include outfielder Fred Lewis and infielder Kevin Frandsen. "That isn't going to get it done," one source with knowledge of the Padres' thinking said.
One of the options presented in the Twins-Padres discussion was Minnesota sending starting pitcher Glen Perkins to the Padres for Kouzmanoff, but the Padres didn't think that was enough, either. Perkins last year went 6-7 with a 5.89 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts) for the Twins.
The Padres' issue is that Kouzmanoff, starter Kevin Correia are all arbitration-eligible, and the likelihood is that all three will not fit within the projected $40 million (or so) payroll. Kouzmanoff is likely to earn $3 to $4 million through arbitration in 2010. The Padres also are exploring Bell's value on the trade market and could reach a point where they would non-tender Correia, who led the team with 12 wins in 2009.