Report: Padres “aggressively looking for hitters” in hopes of contending immediately

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We see a lot of interesting reports at this time of the year, but this one made me chuckle a little bit:

What a concept. It’s easier said than done, of course, especially with the lack of options available on the free agent market. Most of the big bats have already signed — the latest being Nelson Cruz today — which leaves an underwhelming field highlighted by the likes of Chase Headley, Melky Cabrera, Alex Rios, Nick Markakis, Colby Rasmus, Jed Lowrie, Torii Hunter, and Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s not like we’d expect the Padres to spend big money anyway, so the trade market is likely where they’ll turn. The Braves are reportedly dangling Justin Upton and Evan Gattis while the Red Sox appear willing to deal Yoenis Cespedes, so there are options out there.

The Padres were fourth in the majors with a 3.27 ERA this past season, so it’s not hard to imagine them as a sleeper team if they get an infusion of offense. But new general manager A.J. Preller really has his work cut out for him here. The Padres were last in the majors in nearly every major offensive category in 2014. It’s hard to move the needle significantly in one offseason.

Rene Rivera out 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery

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Angels catcher Rene Rivera will be sidelined for up to six weeks, the club announced Friday. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation last Sunday and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus.

Rivera, 34, signed on as a backup catcher to the Angels’ Martin Maldonado back in January. Since then, he’s slashed a healthy .259/.322/.481 with six extra-base hits and an .804 OPS in 59 plate appearances this spring. While manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t anticipate any complications with the veteran catcher’s recovery process, the team will have to wait and see whether he can maintain that kind of consistent production upon his return this summer.

In the interim, rookie backstop Jose Briceno is expected to shoulder Rivera’s workload. The 25-year-old is working through his second year in the Angels’ organization and currently batting .261/.272/.500 with six home runs in 92 PA for Triple-A Salt Lake. He’s likely to make his big league debut sometime in the next week.