General manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday that the Padres will cut ties with the struggling 44-year-old on Thursday in order to activate All-Star Chris Young from the disabled list.
Towers and manager Bud Black met with Wells on Tuesday night after the Padres' game in St. Louis, telling him that he wouldn't be making his scheduled start Saturday in Cincinnati.
"We kind of laid out some options for him," Towers told The Associated Press by phone. "If he still wanted to play, we'll designate him for assignment and see if other clubs have interest, or if he wants to hang them up, he can retire. We're waiting for him to get back to us."
It was unknown whether Wells will retire or try to finish the season with another team.
Wells' locker at Busch Stadium was cleaned out on Wednesday. His agent, Gregg Clifton, said Wells was flying to the hunting ranch in Michigan that he co-owns with former big leaguer Kirk Gibson.
Towers called the 235-game winner one of the best left-handers ever, and said it was tough to let him go.
"He's had a pretty remarkable career," Towers said. "He's been a great teammate. It's going to be tough not to have his presence in the clubhouse. I'll miss that."
Wells was 0-3 with a 14.33 ERA in his last four starts, and 5-8 with a 5.54 ERA overall this season.
He seemed all but finished with baseball at the end of last season, when the two-time NL West champion Padres were eliminated from the playoffs by the St. Louis Cardinals. He said then that it would take a "stupid" offer to get him back in uniform.
Wells agreed in January to return to the Padres for one year, with $3 million in base pay and the chance to make another $4 million in incentives. He'd earned about $2.9 million in incentives.
Clifton feels there will be a market for the big lefty, perhaps even in the NL West.
"I think based upon what David has done for his career and his season, his veteran status and what he brings to a team, I do think there would be a lot of interest in adding him to a roster for the stretch run," Clifton said by phone from his office in the Phoenix area.
The Padres will have 10 days to trade Wells or place him on unconditional release waivers. If he clears waivers he would be a free agent.
If Wells retires, he will have gone out as irascible as ever, even clashing with none other than commissioner Bud Selig.
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