Rangers Among Teams Interested In Brad Hawpe

10:10pm: The Rangers are one of the teams interested in Hawpe, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Hawpe is seen as insurance should current first baseman Mitch Moreland (also a left-handed batter) suffer a setback in his return from wrist surgery.  A Rangers contract would represent a homecoming for Hawpe, who was born in Fort Worth.

7:35pm: Brad Hawpe could be close to signing a minor league contract with one of three clubs that have shown interest in the 32-year-old, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.  Hawpe underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and says he is healthy and ready to return to the field.

Hawpe signed a one-year, $2MM deal with the Padres just over a year ago but struggled badly in 2011, hitting just .231/.301/.344 in 216 plate appearances for the Friars.  San Diego unsurprisingly declined its $6MM club option on Hawpe for 2012, instead buying out the contract for $1MM.

Hawpe hit .288/.384/.518 with 99 home runs between 2006-2009 as member of the Rockies.  He has rather severe splits (a career .873 OPS against right-handers versus a .752 OPS against southpaws) and will probably be limited to a DH or first base role given both his recent surgery and his lifetime -18.9 UZR/150 as an outfielder.  Still, it wasn't long ago that Hawpe was one of the more underrated sluggers in the game, and he could be a very solid platoon or bench option for teams in need of a left-handed bat.


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