SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres want to be buyers rather than sellers approaching the trade deadline.
"I would strongly like to make a move," general manager Jed Hoyer said Friday. "Not a cosmetic change; I'd like to make a move that makes the team better. I think we've had a great first half but there's areas to improve and areas to add insurance. I think we can do that in the next 15 days.
"I won't say 'definitely,' but I certainly want to make a move for the clubhouse and make the team better."
Before the season, most outsiders thought the Padres would be so far back by the July 31 deadline that they'd trade All-Star slugger Adrian Gonzalez for multiple prospects.
But the Padres have been in first place for all but three days since April 20. They began the day with a two-game lead over the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.
The Padres might even make two moves.
"We're not limited to one. We're trying to look on multiple fronts," Hoyer said. "We're casting a wide net, thinking about bats in different positions, thinking about starting pitching, we've inquired about a few relievers as well. We're looking at a lot of different things and we have the resources to add multiple parts, but that means getting multiple trade negotiations to conclusion. I won't promise anything, but we do have the resources to do both."
There also have been reports that they're interested in Milwaukee's Corey Hart and Houston's Lance Berkman, but those teams likely would ask for more than the Padres would be willing or able to give up.
Hoyer said the Padres' farm system is in good enough shape to make deals, but the team needs to be careful and must keep a certain number of players with zero to two years of service time.
"When we give up prospects, I mean, literally prospects are more valuable to the Padres than almost any other team in baseball because have to have that kind of player coming up through the system. That part's a fine balance," he said. "We certainly have enough prospects to make deals, but the price is much higher for us than it would be for a team with a payroll three times higher or twice as high."
San Diego, which hosted Arizona on Friday night in its first game back after the All-Star break, started the year with a payroll of $37.8 million, second-lowest in the majors.
The Padres' staff has the best ERA in the majors, 3.25. They put two key pitchers, starter Mat Latos and setup man Mike Adams, on the 15-day disabled list Friday, both with strained muscles on their left sides.
Latos could be back in time to start a week from Saturday at Pittsburgh.
Although San Diego's offense is ranked toward the bottom of the NL, Hoyer said spacious Petco Park skews the numbers.
"This ballpark can make a lot of offenses look bad," said Hoyer, who added that he likes the Padres' ability to stay close in games. "We're not the 1927 Yankees, but we're not one of the worst offenses, either."
Hoyer also said the team and manager Bud Black have had discussions on a contract extension, but that both sides agree it's not a pressing priority.