Padres offer arbitration to Wells, deal to follow?

The San Diego Padres today offered arbitration to left-handed pitcher David Wells, but declined to do so for free agent infielders Rich Aurilia, Robert Fick, Alex Gonzalez and Dave Hansen, right-handed pitchers Andy Ashby and Antonio Osuna.

David Wells, 12-8 in 31 starts with the Padres last season, has until December 19, 2004 to accept or reject salary arbitration. If he were to reject arbitration, the Padres would have until January 8 to negotiate with him.

The native San Diegan signed a single-season, incentive-laden contract with the Padres last Dec. 31 after the Yankees offered him only a minor league contract. He went on to post a 3.73 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP for the Padres in 2004 and he turned into a clubhouse leader that could pitch in the big game.

"Wells was an important part of our club last season and we felt it was imperative to offer arbitration to extend our negotiation period to ensure that David would be back in a Padre uniform in 2005," said Towers.

By offering Wells arbitration the team has effectively ended his negotiations with other teams. Any team that signs him would have to give up their first round draft pick in the 2005 Draft.

The risk is Wells could accept arbitration and get more guaranteed money than the Padres are believed to be offering.

Though he has offers from other teams, the Padres believe they have put themselves into an enviable position because they wanted to keep Wells on the roster for another year.

The rotation would be set if Wells is re-signed and the Friars would sport two lefties, something they didn't have on the entire team for much of last year, including relievers. Towers believes that lefties are key to winning the NL West.

MadFriars Top Stories