Changes coming in San Diego

Perhaps there was a reason that Sandy Alderson and Grady Fuson were appearing in commercials to promote the team before the start of last season.

The season did not end well for the Padres.

Team officials expected their club to get past the Cardinals in the first-round of the playoffs. They liked the matchup between the Padres and either the Dodgers or Mets in the second round.

The Padres believed they could reach the World Series.

Instead, the Cardinals eliminated San Diego in the first round in four games.

Repercussions could follow.

Suddenly, as remote as it seemed to be two weeks ago, Bruce Bochy's reign as manager looks as if it could end at 12 seasons. And no player, aside from perhaps Trevor Hoffman, is totally immune from being traded.

Padres chief operating officer Sandy Alderson admitted as much in the days following the team's elimination.

Clubs interested in talking to Bochy -- and the Cubs are said to be the main one -- will get permission from the Padres, although Bochy is contracted for 2007 at $1.9 million.

Alderson did say that Bochy will return if he wants to -- although he wants a final decision from his manager in less than two weeks.

"At this time, Bruce is still the Padres manager," general manager Kevin Towers said.

That will give the Padres time to draft a game plan for 2007 that could see considerable roster upheaval. Alderson said some players once viewed as being immune from the trade market are no longer in that category.

Clearly, the Padres are not happy about how 2006 ended.

Losing their first two playoff games at home was a crushing blow after the Padres had won 14 of their last 16 regular-season games at Petco Park. Look for the Padres to continue to tailor their lineup to Petco Park -- and to eliminate or silence players who are openly critical of the dimensions of the Padres' three-year-old downtown home.

The secrets to the team's success this season was pitching and defense. But three starters -- Woody Williams, David Wells and Chan Ho Park -- likely will be moving on as free agents. And the Padres might consider trading 25-year-old ace Jake Peavy for the right everyday position player.

Four losses like that would force a complete rebuilding of the rotation. And only four members of the season-ending bullpen are under the Padres' control.

No Padre hit more than 23 homers this season. The team would like to add power, and one possible position to upgrade in terms of power -- aside from third base -- is left field, where Dave Roberts is a free agent. But Roberts is also the Padres' capable leadoff hitter and one of the more popular players in the clubhouse.

There has already been talk of moving right fielder Brian Giles to the leadoff position if Roberts doesn't return.

Alderson is a disciple -- if not the originator -- of "Moneyball." With more than $40 million coming off their 2006 payroll of around $70 million, the Padres have considerable room to operate.

Changes are definitely coming. The only questions are how many and how far-reaching.

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