LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – Greg Maddux is headed to the San Diego Padres. Halfway through baseball’s winter meetings, teams remained focused on free agents instead of potential trades.

Not a single swap had been made through Tuesday evening, but New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya said he was close to a trade. The Chicago Cubs appeared to be discussing deals involving outfielder Jacque Jones.

“I do believe the free-agent market is kind of holding off a little bit the trade front, because there are so many free agents still available,” Minaya said.

Maddux and the Padres, meanwhile, closed in on a $10 million, one-year contract, a deal that would contain a player option for 2008. Agent Scott Boras, without indicating a team, said Maddux’s deal “was moving positively … but not done yet.”

Details on Maddux’s potential contract with the Padres were disclosed by two people familiar with the talks who spoke in condition of anonymity because no deal had been finalized.

“Southern California was always a place Greg wanted to play. He was very happy in L.A. last year,” Boras said.

“San Diego also has an environment for his family. His decisions are based primarily on his family.”

Boras said Barry Zito, another client, was “geographically free.” Zito, the top available free-agent pitcher, could wind up with a contract of six or seven years, a length that might eliminate several suitors.

“In the marketplace there have been three-year deals given for guys that have had substantial injury histories,” Boras said. “Last year, we got a five-(year) deal for Kevin Millwood. Zito has pristine durability. He’s never missed a start. So definitely he’s going to be someone that’s in that range.”

San Francisco and Barry Bonds seem to be inching toward a deal. Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin would be surprised if Bonds didn’t remain with the Giants.

“I expect him to be there,” Melvin said. “If we don’t have Barry in our division, it’s a break. We don’t count on it.”

In Tuesday’s only announced free-agent agreement, reliever LaTroy Hawkins and the Colorado Rockies finalized a $3.5 million, one-year contract. Reliever Joe Borowski and outfielder David Dellucci were to take physicals Tuesday, a step toward finalizing contracts with the Indians.

In the biggest free-agent signing among pitchers so far this week, Vicente Padilla and the Texas Rangers reached a preliminary agreement Monday on a $33.75 million, three-year contract, an indication of the high price of pitching. Not wanting Chris Carpenter to become eligible for free agency in the next few years, St. Louis agreed to a $63.5 million, five-year contract with the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner.

In the overheated market, Ted Lilly was likely to get a four-year contract, with the Chicago Cubs the most likely destination, and Mark Mulder was getting multiyear offers even though he had rotator cuff surgery in September. Houston manager Phil Garner was hoping that Andy Pettitte would choose pitching over retirement, and would decide to stay with his hometown Astros rather than return to the Yankees.

“I certainly am tainted by my biased feeling that he wants to be in Houston. He needs to be in Houston and we want him to be in Houston,” Garner said. “And his family is dying for him to be in Houston. His kids are pining every day at school wondering, ‘Oh, daddy, please don’t go anywhere else. Stay in Houston.’ I could hear it all over the city.”

Boras said reliever Eric Gagne, coming off elbow surgery in April and back surgery in July, had many suitors. The former All-Star closer was born in Montreal, leading to speculation Toronto might be interested.

“It doesn’t hurt to have a hockey town involved,” Boras said.


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