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Padres looking for another arm after quiet Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Earlier in the week, Padres general manager Josh Byrnes joked that his phone might have been broken.

The inference was, of course, that he wasn't getting much in the way of hits from other teams or agents during these Winter Meetings.

As it turns out, his phone worked fine. It just didn't ring much.

"The Meetings were pretty quiet for us," Byrnes said.

The Padres came to Nashville with a singular focus -- find starting pitching, as in adding two arms to the rotation mix for Spring Training. They left with one, as they signed veteran Jason Marquis to a one-year deal on Monday.

Byrnes and his staff now head back to San Diego, where they'll continue to look for the right fit for their rotation -- an innings-eater, not a health risk and someone who could push for a starting job.

"We're working on a few things, but nothing is imminent," Byrnes said.

The Padres have a full 40-man roster and faced some tough decisions last month as to who to protect in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. If they either trade or sign a pitcher, they will need to create an opening on the 40-man roster, which could prove tricky.

Deals done: The Padres fired the first shot of these Winter Meetings with a one-year deal for Marquis. That was all they did in Nashville, which didn't merit surprise. These Meetings, after all, are a matter of convenience, as teams can meet with other teams and agents. It's business as usual starting Friday. Marquis will earn $3 million in 2013.

Rule 5 activity: The Padres lost first baseman Nate Freiman to the Astros on Thursday during the Major League phase of the Draft. Freiman, who turns 26 on Dec. 31, has hit 71 home runs in his first four Minor League seasons with the organization. The team added two players in the Minor League phase -- infielder Diego Goris and pitcher Federico Castaneda, both from the Royals.

Goals accomplished: First and foremost, the Padres added a starting pitcher in Marquis. They'll still need to add one more before the start of Spring Training, but there's plenty of time for that. Ideally, the team would like to have nine or 10 candidates for its starting rotation when Spring Training begins.

Unfinished business: The search continues for a starting pitcher, and the Padres have had talks with both agents and other teams about filling that need. The Padres might trade for a starting pitcher and have some inventory -- corner infielders and relievers -- to offer in a deal. At this point, the price tag on free agents is still high. Expect that to come down in the coming weeks.

Team's bottom line: "We don't have a lot of holes to fill," -- Byrnes said Thursday, when asked to assess what amounted to a quiet four days in Nashville.

San Diego Padres, Jason Marquis