The San Diego Padres had been hoping their offer of a $4 million base and incentives that topped out at $7 million would be enough to lure David Wells back to his hometown.
That was then and this is now. The Boston Red Sox have offered up a one year deal with a base of $6.5 million and another $1.5 million in incentives. Boston stepped up its offer when it became clear that they were no longer the frontrunner for Carl Pavano, as the Yankees are making him a top priority.
Wells' agent, Gregg Clifton, told reporters he sees Boston as "a natural fit".
Now the ball is back in the Padres' court. If they want to remain in the hunt for Wells they must make a better offer. General Manager Kevin Towers was not willing to break the bank to sign the 42 year old and it seemed as if he was ready to let him walk.
"If someone offers him a boatload of cash, then we have no chance," Towers said.
It is unclear if the Padres will even look at another starter since they currently have five on the roster. The thinking was to lock Wells in and look to trade one of either Brian Lawrence or Adam Eaton in a package.
The Padres expected to get Tim Stauffer into the 2006 rotation, making the loss of Lawrence or Eaton easier to swallow.
If Wells signs with Boston, and indications are Clifton will move forward by the end of the weekend, than the Padres will be forced into status quo.
Wells also placed a call to Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman to guage the Yankees interest. His desire to go back to the American League, where he would not have to bat or be subject to an early pinch-hitter are some of the obstacles, besides money, that the Padres face.
Wells has already turned down a $6.1 million deal from the Phillies. The Indians also made an offer but word out of Anaheim is that was also turned down. No details were available regarding the financials of the offer.
Padres may depart without one in the Wells
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