The Phillies continue to come up short in their quest to upgrade the third base position.

The team learned yesterday that Tadahito Iguchi has agreed to a one-year contract to play second base with the San Diego Padres. The Phillies are believed to have offered Iguchi a two-year contract to play third, although because of a baseball rule he could not have rejoined the Phillies until May 15.

Iguchi's agent, Rocky Hall, said last week that Iguchi preferred to play second base and on the West Coast. But Hall also said Iguchi, 33, preferred a multiyear contract because of his age.

The Phillies released Iguchi after the season because it was required in his contract. He had to be released if he were not signed to an extension before Nov. 15.

A team that releases a player between seasons cannot sign him to a big-league contract until May 15.

In essence, the Phillies have outbid the competition for two third basemen this off-season: Mike Lowell and Iguchi. They still fell short. The Phillies offered Lowell a four-year, $48 million contract last month, but he signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract to remain with the Boston Red Sox. Then the Phillies offered Iguchi more guaranteed years than San Diego did.

It's unclear what the Phillies' next move at third base might be. They could stick with Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs. Or they could look elsewhere. Free agent Pedro Feliz remains available, although it's unclear if the Phillies have any interest.