Jed Hoyer is bargain-hunting

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Thumbnail image for jed hoyer padres.jpgAccording to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres have between $5 million-8 million left to spend on free agents this winter.
New general manager Jed Hoyer has spent most of his first offseason on
the sidelines, but he did manage to surprise many around baseball
by inking Kevin Correia to a new contract last month.



While the funds available won’t go far, Center expects to club to be active in the following areas:



Center field: Namely, a righty bat
to balance Tony Gwynn, who is a stretch as anything beyond a part-time outfielder. Reed
Johnson is a possibility there, but he also interests the Yankees as a
reserve.




Catcher: With Henry Blanco leaving
via free agency, the team seeks a veteran catcher to mentor 26-year-old
Nick Hundley. Center sees former Padre and San Diego County resident
Brad Ausmus as a natural fit, though the Padres have yet to contact him.




Middle infield: Center expects Hoyer
to find a veteran defensive specialist as rosters take shape around
baseball during spring training.




Pitching: With a young staff, the Padres could use a veteran presence.



With the odds of an offseason trade
in doubt, the roster likely won’t look much different than what the
club had at the end of the 2009 season. Rumors about an Adrian Gonzalez
trade have been based more on hype than reality and the market for Kevin
Kouzmanoff has taken a hit with several teams filling their
need at the hot corner and Adrian Beltre and Miguel Tejada still
available as a free agents. It all adds up to a pretty underwhelming offseason, but the Padres are hoping to progress from a 37-25 finish to their 2009 campaign.

Report: Mets showing interest in Bartolo Colon

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Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.

Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.

Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.