Padres trying to acquire a bat

San Diego-- With the recent sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, the Padres are feeling the vise tighten on their NL West lead. San Diego is looking for a suitor that isn't asking for Scott Linebrink and may have had one team take a step forward.

With third base the obvious need, and both general manager Kevin Towers and vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson admitting that it remains the only true weakness on the squad, a door may have opened when the Houston Astros acquired Aubrey Huff from Tampa Bay.

It puts Morgan Ensberg on the block, despite his disabled list status with a shoulder contusion.

Yes, he has a .236 average. Yes, he denies the word slump.

But. . .

Yes, he has power – with a homer in every 14.5 at bats, the same homer pace as last season. Yes, he still owns a .390 on base percentage.

At 30 years old, Ensberg sill has one year of eligibility before he reaches free agency. That means this isn't a short rental but an investment until Chase Headley makes the jump up the ladder enough to warrant consideration.

His defense may not be Vinny Castilla like but it is close. He has a career fielding percentage of .956 at the hot corner compared to the .965 mark of Castilla. The extra pop could help but there are concerns about how much he will hit away from Houston on a consistent basis but he would immediately lead the team in dingers with his 19 and his 44 RBI's would be tied for third on the team, 15 more homers than Castilla currently has and 21 more RBI's.

The one bonus for this team and this deal is it likely wouldn't cost the Padres more than a reliever, perhaps Scott Cassidy, and a mid-level prospect.

If this scenario doesn't work out, the Padres will try and swing for the fences to get a top player that can be a building block, especially with a number of contracts coming off the books next year. It will come at a heavy price if they swing it, shipping George Kottaras out, but it could be worth it. Finding a trading partner won't be as easy with the need for catcher among those with third baseman to spare appears limited.

Rest assured, the Padres are hunting for a bat and aren't looking in the basement or the garbage for their diving. If all other roads lead to nowhere, Towers may go back to the dump but the current feel has them at least trying for the fences, more than they have done in the past.


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