Padres all but done

It was a tossup between Shawn Estes and Chris Hammond with the San Diego Padres opting to go the relief route instead of picking up another starter. Estes reportedly let a deadline with the Padres expire and Hammond came at a bargain rate given his experience and numbers.

With 39 spots filled on their 40-man roster, the Padres were negotiating with two free agent, left-handed pitchers last week -- starter Shawn Estes and reliever Chris Hammond.

The Padres opted for Hammond when Estes didn't move quickly enough and it was good news for the Friars who came to see the wisdom of their signing.

It wasn't a question of money, though Padres fans reacted as though it was.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers said it was a baseball decision.

"We made a decision that we needed Hammond to compete our bullpen," Towers said after completing the Hammond deal. "We already had five starters. We talked to both that last day, but I thought we were better served adding to our bullpen."

With the signing of Hammond, Towers said the Padres might have made their last offseason acquisition.

The biggest matters still on Towers' plate before spring training are reaching agreements with his two arbitration-eligible players, third baseman Sean Burroughs and right-handed reliever Scott Linebrink; working on a contract extension for manager Bruce Bochy; and reaching an agreement on a long term contract with right-handed starting pitcher Jake Peavy.

"We're pretty well set going into spring training," said Towers. "I think the picture is pretty clear. There aren't going to be many open spots.

"I think we're pretty much done."

The biggest questions could be the backup catcher, the last player on the bench and the size of the bullpen.


Klesko has started lifting weights for the first time since midsummer of 2003.

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