"I think Theo is just trying to find out which clubs would be interested if they decided to move him," Towers said. "He's putting his feelers out. That's kind of where it's at."
Wells, who pitched for the Padres in 2004 before signing with Boston as a free agent, has indicated he may retire at the end of the season. Wells, who has suffered through a spate of injuries and is 2-3 with a 4.98 ERA in eight starts, is scheduled to pitch on Thursday night at Fenway Park against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox were in Oakland on Tuesday, and Wells was sent back to Boston along with three injured Red Sox players -- David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Wily Mo Pena.
Wells cleared waivers earlier this month, making him eligible to be traded to any of the Major League's other 29 teams.
Epstein, who worked for the Padres in a number of capacities, including as an assistant to Towers, has long been close with the long-time San Diego general manager.
With the Red Sox continuing to slip in the standings, the urgency to trade Wells now is apparent, because Major League rosters are expanding from 25 to 40 players on Friday. Until that point, any player can be traded and added to the postseason roster. Afterward, the player can be traded, but he is ineligible for the postseason.
The Padres are in a battle to win their second consecutive National League West title with the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks, and are also right there in the league's Wild Card race, which shows the top 10 teams separated by only five games.
With starter Chan Ho Park on the disabled list, Towers said he's looking for pitching before Friday.
"Front line, relief, it doesn't matter," Towers said. "Anything that will make our club better."
Meanwhile, after losing, 2-1, on Tuesday night to the A's, the Red Sox are 7 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East and 6 1/2 games short of the White Sox in the league's Wild Card race with 30 games to go.
The injury-riddled Red Sox are 8-20 this month and have lost their last five games in a row.
"This series in Oakland [which ends on Wednesday] is probably pretty big for them, so they can decide where they're at," Towers said. "They're just trying to be prepared in case they decide to go in that direction. But I wasn't getting the impression from Theo that they were raising the white flag or anything. He just wants to be proactive in case they get to that point."