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Padres are quiet as Meetings pick up pace

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Winter Meetings picked up a bit on Tuesday, with one big trade, another less surprising swap and the introduction of one high-profile free-agent signing. But things remained quiet for the Padres.

San Diego's continued search for bullpen reinforcements, particularly in the form of a left-handed reliever and a late-inning right-hander, did not yield any results on Day 2 of the annual offseason meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort. The Padres have been among the least visibly active teams, as the club has been linked to few of the unending stream of rumors coming out of the hotel lobby.

Meanwhile, the D-backs, Angels and White Sox pulled off a big three-team trade sending Mark Trumbo to division-rival Arizona, the Rockies picked up lefty starter Brett Anderson and Curtis Granderson spoke for the first time as a member of the Mets.

But the Padres are still working through several possibilities to upgrade their roster, including a number of trade options and potential free agents that general manager Josh Byrnes referenced when speaking to reporters on Monday.

"No updates on the trade stuff," Byrnes said Tuesday via e-mail. "We continue to have many discussions on trade ideas and free-agent pursuits."

It's entirely possible, however, that the Padres could receive more of a boost from several players who are already on their roster than the ones they've yet to acquire. Consider the potential impact of starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland, both finally nearing the end of their long recoveries from Tommy John surgery, and outfielder Cameron Maybin.

"All of the injured players have progressed well," Byrnes said. "Luebke and Wieland did throw off the mound against hitters this fall, and Maybin feels great."

Byrnes has previously expressed hope that Luebke and Wieland would be well enough to join what should be a competitive battle for spots in the starting rotation come Spring Training. Both were once top prospects for San Diego, but neither has thrown a pitch in a big league game since 2012. Luebke underwent the elbow reconstruction surgery in May 2012, while Wieland had the operation in July 2012.

Luebke was off to a hot start in 2012, posting a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 31 innings over five starts before sustaining his injury in a start against the Giants. The lefty, who will turn 29 in March, is 10-12 with a 3.25 ERA in 188 1/3 innings in the Majors from 2010-12.

Wieland, who will turn 24 in January, has only made five Major League starts, compiling a 4.55 ERA over those 27 2/3 innings. But he possesses a strong Minor League track record, having gone 33-19 with a 3.29 ERA over five seasons in the Padres' farm system, including a 13-4 record and 1.97 ERA over two levels in 2011.

Maybin, meanwhile, is working his way back from the right wrist surgery he underwent on Sept. 6, a procedure that revealed a more serious injury that required a longer recovery period. The operation showed that Maybin had injured his triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC), meaning his rehab could take up to 12 weeks.

Maybin, 26, dealt with chronic pain each of the last two seasons, a symptom of an injured TFCC ligament. And his performance waned in his limited playing time last season, when he hit .157/.232/.235 in 57 plate appearances over 14 games, and his numbers weren't particularly impressive in the 147 games he played in 2012.

The Padres would like to see their center fielder return to his 2011 form, when Maybin hit .264/.323/.393 with 40 steals and earned a five-year, $25 million contract extension in March 2012.

And ideally, he'll be joined in his return to full health by two young starters who could make as big of an impact on the Padres' 2014 fate as anybody they'll pick up this week at the Winter Meetings or later on this offseason.

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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