Valdes gets offer and more

Padres close on Valdes

Ismael Valdes was offered a one year deal by the San Diego Padres and the team is hoping to lock up the right-hander in the next few days. <br><br> The Cedeno deal is dead and it may never wake up again. <br><br> Centerfielder is still a priority, whether you hear it or not. <br><br>

The deal for Ismael Valdes is believed to be in the neighborhood of $750K + incentives.

Valdes, in the league since 1994, is still only 30-years old. He was 8-8 last season with a 6.10 ERA while pitching for Texas. His ERA was close to two and a half runs better away from the Ballpark at Arlington and batters were .339 against him at home, .296 away. Another bonus is the number nine hitter in the lineup batted .364 against him. He won't have to face that kind of barrage from number nine hitters in the NL.

Prior to the 2000 season, Valdes never topped 3.98 on his ERA. Since 2000, he has been erratic. If he signs with the Padres, it will be his sixth team in the last four years.

The Padres have also reached an agreement with Edgar Huerta, a left-handed reliever. Huerta, 23, was 4-2 with a 3.70 ERA in 31 games (five starts) for the Mexico Tigres last summer. He had 69 strikeouts in 53 innings but also issued 38 walks.

In winter ball, he has a 2.59 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings with Culiacan.

Towers had to outbid several teams to gain his services and it is believed he will cost more than Valdes.

The Cedeno deal appears dead. The Padres have been trying to pull off a two for one deal, sending Kevin Jarvis and Terrence Long to the Mets for Roger Cedeno. They are unwilling to pickup the $2.75 million differential in salaries and Mets GM Jim Duquette has not been pleased. Duquette is now trying to send Cedeno to the Chicago White Sox for closer Billy Koch.

"Obviously, trading Cedeno for Koch is a more attractive option since it solidifies an area of need," said one source familiar with negotiations. "The Padres trade talks are dead. This deal will get done and the Mets will pay some of Cedeno's contract to do it."

Now the team is waiting to see what happens on the non-tender date, December 20th. Although not well publicized the team is keeping a close eye on Jay Payton in Colorado.

The Padres are adamant about finding a quality centerfielder, feeling they will need someone solid to roam the outfield of Petco. With the young pitchers they have, defense up the middle is important to save some runs.

"From all the rumors I have heard, Towers and company seems to realize the importance of getting a solid defender in centerfield," said one NL scout. "I would be asking everybody to play for me, if I had to choose between Giles, Klesko, Nady and Long in that outfield." As mentioned yesterday, it will not be Jacque Jones:

Towers told reporters in New Orleans that he would not trade Adam Eaton or Jake Peavy.

"If I did that, then I would be opening up another hole I'd need to fill," Towers said. "If they wanted to do a deal for prospects, then we could have a match."

That makes for a bad trading partner with the Twins who are seeking major league ready talent.

In other news, the A-Rod to Boston deal is gaining steam and seems to be only a matter of time before it is complete now. Speculation has Nomar ending up in Los Angeles in exchange for Odalis Perez and the Red Sox sending Perez elsewhere in pursuit of an outfielder.

Minnesota Twins traded outfielder Dustan Mohr to the San Francisco Giants for a PTBNL.

Jeff Suppan signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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