- Associated Press - Saturday, December 4, 2010

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The San Diego Padres are having serious discussions with Boston about trading All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Friday night.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing, said the Padres likely would receive prospects if a deal is finalized.

The popular Gonzalez grew up in the San Diego area and was the No. 1 overall pick by Florida in the 2000 amateur draft. He was obtained in a trade with Texas before the 2006 season and has blossomed into one of the game’s best first basemen. He hit .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs last season.

Boston was interested in Gonzalez last winter.

The Padres were surprise contenders in the NL West in 2010, which forced them to keep Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner.

Padres general manager Jed Hoyer has said for some time that the Padres wouldn’t be able to afford the kind of big-money contract Gonzalez would command if he hit the free-agent market.

Hoyer, who used to work for Boston GM Theo Epstein, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Padres recently exercised Gonzalez’s $6.2 million option for 2011, the final year of a team-friendly $15 million, five-year contract he signed in 2007.

Two days after the Padres exercised Gonzalez’s option, Hoyer and agent John Boggs met over lunch and agreed that the slugger would be too expensive to remain with his hometown team after his contract expired.

Boggs said then that it was “pretty much a fait accompli” that Gonzalez would test the free-agent market after the 2011 season, and Hoyer said, barring any drastic developments, it wouldn’t make sense for the team to even make an offer.

Hoyer has said he anticipated Gonzalez being on the opening-day roster. But the allure of prospects is probably too much to pass up for a team that anticipates a player payroll of approximately $40 million.

The Padres went 90-72 despite opening the season with a payroll of $37.8 million, second-lowest in the majors. San Diego was in contention until the final day, when its loss at San Francisco, coupled with Atlanta’s win over Philadelphia, eliminated the Padres from the NL West and wild-card races.

The Padres already have lost right-hander Jon Garland, shortstop Miguel Tejada and catcher Yorvit Torrealba to free agency, and won’t re-sign outfielders Scott Hairston and Tony Gwynn Jr. They also declined to pick up right-hander Chris Young’s $8.5 million option.

Free-agent pitcher Aaron Harang agreed to a one-year deal with San Diego on Friday, two people familiar with the situation told the AP. The people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement hadn’t been made, said the contract is pending a physical.

The 6-foot-7 Harang spent the last 7 1/2 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, winning 16 games in 2006 and 2007. But he has struggled the last three years, going 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA last season when he was bothered by back spasms.

The 32-year-old right-hander is from San Diego and went to college at San Diego State.

In five seasons with San Diego, Gonzalez has 161 homers _ two shy of Nate Colbert’s club record _ and 501 RBIs. Including parts of two seasons with Texas, he has 168 homers and 525 RBIs.

The lefty batter set a Padres record with his fourth 30-homer season. His third 100-RBI season tied Phil Nevin for the most in club history.

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