If it's up to Theo Epstein in Boston and Kevin Towers in San Diego, David Wells will get his wish to play in Southern California. According to a San Diego source, the Padres have missed Wells's leadership, and they appear willing to package something for the 42-year-old lefthander that would satisfy the Sox.
The Padres may part with righthanded starter Brian Lawrence or set-up man Akinori Otsuka or both, but not starter Adam Eaton, who would be more coveted by the Sox.
Lawrence, who will earn $3.5 million next season, had a poor 2005 season -- 7-15, with a 4.83 ERA -- but he has made 31-34 starts each of the last four seasons. Otsuka, who has a $1.75 million option for '06, was 2-8 with a 3.59 ERA and blew six of his seven save opportunities, but he's been a workhorse with 139 appearances the last two seasons.
Here's the rub: Towers has lost power in San Diego because Sandy Alderson is running the show. Towers ran the Padres on his own after Larry Lucchino left for Boston.
Alderson is managing the team's $70 million payroll, and while Wells's contract is incentive-based, he reached $9 million with incentives this year. Too rich for the Padres? We'll see.
If the Sox don't trade Wells, he's likely to retire. He was arguably their best starter last season with 15 wins, but they will save the $9 million or so for 2006 and devote it to another area. But there aren't many 15-game winners in a poor free agent market.
Excerpted from today's baseball notes in the Boston Globe.