Teams want bang for their bucks

Updated: November 9, 2003, 5:00 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
PHOENIX -- San Diego general manager Kevin Towers, one of baseball's most affable and approachable executives, is more popular than usual these days. The Padres are moving to a new home in April, and dozens of player agents figure that means Towers has a huge stash of Petco Park money bulging from his office drawers.

The truth is, Towers does have money to spend on a starting pitcher, a catcher and some bullpen help this winter, but don't look for the Padres to dabble in the Javy Lopez or Bartolo Colon markets. And if agent Scott Boras pushes for $12 million a year and a multi-year deal for Greg Maddux, they'll pass on Maddux, too.

The Padres have adopted the prevailing mindset -- that you don't spend $15 million on one player when it's possible to plug several holes with the same investment. So they'll look to Brad Ausmus or Benito Santiago to fill their catching void, or hope that Minnesota might be willing to part with A.J. Pierzynski. They'll try to add depth to their rotation with a Sterling Hitchcock, Wilson Alvarez, David Wells, Cory Lidle or Brian Anderson. Even Kelvim Escobar might be a reach for them financially.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer