Updated: Aug. 30, 2006, 9:03 PM ET
Red Sox, Padres close to completing Wells tradeBy Buster Olney
ESPN The Magazine


The Red Sox moved steadily toward the completion of a trade of veteran left-hander David Wells, identifying Class AAA catcher George Kottaras as the player they want if they complete a deal with the Padres. Boston has continued to talk to the Dodgers and Cardinals and perhaps the Reds, but it appears that San Diego is the front-runner to get Wells.

"I don't think there's any doubt now that he's going to be traded," said one source familiar with the conversations.

Wells is from San Diego and has pitched for the Padres in the past, and it may be best for all parties that he winds up going where he wants to go, because there is the possibility that at age 43, Wells would simply retire if he didn't like the team to which he was traded.

Kottaras is playing for Triple-A Portland, where he is hitting .233 with two homers and 13 RBI. The Red Sox organization is in need of catching, and Kottaras has a reputation as a solid defender.

The idea that the Red Sox might trade Wells would've seemed absurd two weeks ago, but Boston has now dropped six straight games; after losing to Oakland on Wednesday afternoon, the Red Sox were 10 games behind the Yankees in the loss column in the AL East.