Will the Padres add a bat? A bat. That short sentence, those two words, which roll off the tongue of every San Diego fan and baseball writer alike. “A bat.”

Not a hitter, mind you, but a bat. It’s almost as if all Kevin Towers and company have to do is place a call to the Sports Authority or Big 5 or something. Plenty of bats there. Pick your poison, Rawlings or Louisville Slugger.

Look, first of all, getting a bat is not that easy. You don’t just snap your fingers. Second, the club has brought in two already, in Michael Barrett and Milton Bradley. And they’re helping.

Perhaps the biggest question is this: Say, for the sake of argument, you can get an impact hitter, and it’s doable in terms of prospects and additional salary. OK, so where do you put him? Who comes out of the lineup, and why?

That’s where it gets complicated. What’s the most obvious spot for that new guy? Third base, you say? No way. Kevin Kouzmanoff has been headed in the right direction for several months, slowly but surely. He’s not the second coming of Mike Schmidt, but who is? I don’t think the Padres want to mess with the progress that’s being made there.

Shortstop? Sure, Khalil Greene frustrates at the plate much of the time, but he produces bit hits as well. And assuming there’s even a better hitter available, would the team want to sacrifice defense? So again, no way.

First base? Adrian Gonzalez is struggling, but there’s no choice but to wait it out.

Left field and catcher have been addressed, and center is fine. If Bradley were to get hurt again, left might become a position of interest for the club to revisit. But otherwise, that leaves right field and second base, the Giles brothers.

Both have pennant race and postseason experience and are veteran hitters, neither of which grows on trees, but are underperforming. Brian, who isn’t powering the ball like he used to, is at least getting on base. Marcus isn’t doing either, and hasn’t for awhile. So is his the spot that gets the new bat? And if so, how do you know Marcus wasn’t days away from turning it around, while the new guy slumps the minute he gets off the plane?

Hey, don’t look at me. I’m just thinking aloud. These are rhetorical questions in a way, best left to the experts. We’ll have the answers in exactly two weeks.

Until then, I suggest that whatever rumor you’re hearing, just remember it’s only a rumor. Don’t upset yourself over who might be out of here, or get too excited about what bat might be arriving.

The Padres might trade for a bat, and they might not. They might have a bat here already. Just probably not a full bat rack.

— HOWARD COLE

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