San Diego Padres Chairman Ron Fowler. Courtesy of GaslampBall.com

The San Diego Padres  payroll will open higher than last years record mark of $90.1 million and could be a little higher than $100 million pending transactions, team Chairman Ron Fowler said in an interview with U-T San Diego.

With pitchers like San Diego native Cole Hamels and free agent James Shields on the market Fowler is willing to give General Manager A.J. Preller the flexibility to go out and get more talent.

“With A.J. in the GM seat, things could change quickly. He continues to look at options to strengthen the team,” said Fowler to U-T San Diego.

Preller has transformed the Padres offense this offseason by adding former All-Stars Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Derek Norris, while also adding 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers.

In the transformation, Preller created flexibility with this seasons payroll by having the Los Angeles Dodgers send over $18 million of the $32 million they agreed to give the Padres in the Kemp trade.

That money helped the team fund the trade for Upton and now has a chance to help the team add a new pitcher, or add Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, who Preller has scouted personally in the Dominican Republic.

Hamels seems to be an unlikely option due to the high asking price of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Shields is expected to make his decision on where to sign before the end of this week, according to Fox Sports.

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