Brad Hawpe Rumors
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.
Only Harang was slightly in question; he had a $5MM mutual option with a $500K buyout. The 33-year-old San Diego native posted a 3.64 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9, and 40.6% groundball rate in 170 2/3 innings. His SIERA suggests a 4.25 ERA would have been deserved.
Hawpe, 32, had a $6MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout. His season ended early due to elbow surgery. Qualls, 33, had a $6MM club option with a $1.05MM buyout.
The Padres will be declining the $6MM options for Chad Qualls and Brad Hawpe for next season. GM Jed Hoyer broke the news during a radio appearance on XX1090's The Darren Smith Show (Twitter link from producer Marty Caswell). Hoyer also said the team was still mulling over whether or not to pick up its side of Aaron Harang's $5MM mutual option for next season.
Qualls will receive a $1.05MM buyout from the Padres but still could be back in San Diego next year, as we've heard the team has an interest in re-signing him at a lower price. After a disastrous 2010 campaign that saw him lose the closer's job in Arizona and get dealt to Tampa Bay, Qualls rebounded in 2011 to deliver a 3.51 ERA and 2.15 K/BB ratio in 77 games for the Padres. Qualls had some pretty severe home/away splits (a 2.09 ERA at Petco Park and a 5.05 ERA on the road), so there's a decent chance he'll choose to remain in San Diego.
It was no surprise that the Padres parted ways with Hawpe after the veteran missed most of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June. Hawpe only hit .231/.301/.344 in 216 plate appearances for San Diego. Hawpe had a $6MM mutual option for 2012 that the Padres will pay $1MM to buy out.
Harang, like Qualls, underwent a bit of a career revival pitching at Petco Park --- a 3.05 ERA in 17 home starts and a 4.70 ERA in 11 road starts for an overall 3.64 ERA for the season. Harang will turn 34 next year so this could be his last chance at a multiyear deal if another team chooses to ignore his home/away splits. Harang could decline his half of the mutual option and test the market, though if he doesn't find a multiyear contract, he could lose his chance at coming back to San Diego since the Friars will have their pick of veterans looking for a Petco Park boost.
Hoyer also addressed recent rumors connecting manager Bud Black to the vacant general manager's job with the Angels, saying that the Halos hadn't asked the Padres for permission to interview Black and that Black is happy in San Diego. Hoyer also said that the club has made offers to Heath Bell, but didn't confirm Jon Heyman's recent report that the Padres offered their closer a two-year, $14MM contract. (Both links are to Caswell's Twitter feed.)
Let's check out a few items from the National League West..
- Steve Soboroff, who publicly clashed with the commissioner’s office in his brief tenure as the Dodgers’ vice chairman, has resigned, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune wonders where Brad Hawpe will fit in when he returns from the disabled list. Even though it'll be hard to find a place for the veteran, it's hard to imagine the Padres cutting him loose and paying him the $2MM that he is still owed.
- Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook needs to turn things around quickly before the Rockies start exploring other options, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. Earlier today, Renck reported that the club has started calling other teams to gauge the market for rotation help.
John Tomase from the Boston Herald has some notes about several Major League topics in his latest article:
- Tomase reminds us that at the 2009 deadline, the Red Sox reportedly offered the Mariners any five of the following prospects in exchange for Felix Hernandez: Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Josh Reddick, Yamaico Navarro, Nick Hagadone, Felix Doubront, and Justin Masterson. While a Boston official disputed the specific names, Tomase says the reports were in the ballpark.
- Regarding a trade though, Tomase quotes King Felix himself as saying that he wants to stay in Seattle: "I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not trying to think about it. I’d love to stay here (with the Mariners). I’m part of Seattle now and I’d like to be in Seattle."
- San Diego's Anthony Rizzo, acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, is off to a blazing start at Triple-A. Rizzo has posted a monstrous line of .400/.471/.744 with seven homers, eight doubles, and a triple through 102 PAs, but despite that production the Padres aren't giving up on Brad Hawpe yet. Manager Bud Black cites Hawpe's career success, but it'll be hard to ignore his .149/.194/.194 line much longer.
- Manny Ramirez's abrupt retirement had many questioning a Rays' lineup that was struggling to score runs, but as Tomase points out, the Rays have gone 14-5 since Manny called it quits. The Rays were 0-6 with Manny on board.
Tomase's article also features several more quotes from Felix on his appreciation for Seattle as well and is a good read all-around.
Padres GM Jed Hoyer spoke with Darren Smith of XX1090 Sports Radio about the state of his team yesterday. You can download the mp3 of the 16-minute interview here, and here's a recap of the important hot stove items...
- Unsurprisingly, Hoyer's primary focus is arbitration figures at the moment. MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows that the team still has five players up for arbitration, including Heath Bell and Ryan Ludwick.
- Hoyer believes the team will be able to sign Bell before an arbitration hearing. While the two sides are open to and have discussed the possibility of a multiyear deal, right now the focus is on getting a contract for 2011 worked out.
- Hoyer likes the idea of bringing recently retired players in to just hang around with his young ballclub. Obviously the most notable recently retired player is long-time Padre Trevor Hoffman, who is now working with the club in a front office capacity.
- "As far as Major League deals, I'd never say never, but I think we're pretty much done," said the GM. The team is closing in on deals with Gregg Zaun and Chad Qualls, and they figure to sign a few more players to minor league contracts before camp opens up.
- "I think writing guys off after one year is a mistake," Hoyer said, referring to the recently signed Brad Hawpe. He considers age a factor when determining if a player is on the decline for good, and Hawpe is still just 31 and only a year removed from three straight seasons with no worse than a .879 OPS.
- Free agent pitchers have called Hoyer directly to say they'd love to pitch for the Padres. Hitters aren't as receptive to playing in Petco Park, however.
- Hoyer doesn't think they overpaid Orlando Hudson when they gave the second baseman a two-year, $11.5MM contract. "I think we got him on a very reasonable two year deal."
- Gaslamp Ball rounded up the non-hot stove items for those of you interested in learning about how much playing time they plan to give Nick Hundley as well as how much they value defense.
Here are some recent updates on contracts from around the majors:
- Reliever Takashi Saito will earn a base salary of less than $2MM with the Brewers but incentives could push his salary close to the $3.2MM he made with Atlanta last year, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Saito could mark the Brewers' last major offseason acquisition.
- Adrian Beltre will earn $14MM in 2011, $15MM in 2012, $16MM in 2013, $17MM in 2014, and $18MM in 2015, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Left-hander Chris Capuano gets a base of $1.5MM in 2011 but he could earn more than $4.5MM through incentives, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Padres agreed not to offer salary arbitration if Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe, or Aaron Harang end up being Type A free agents, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- If they make the Bucs' major league roster, Garrett Atkins and Brian Burres will earn $800K and $600K, respectively, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. If Atkins is not on the 25-man roster on April 1 or June 1, he can request his release. Burres also has an out clause of sorts as can sign with an Asian team for $50K between now and Opening Day or for $100K during the season.
The Padres like that Brad Hawpe posted a .903 OPS two years ago and is still just 31 years old, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The team's front office is confident in Hawpe's ability to play first, but club execs don't know what they'll get from the longtime Rockie at the plate. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors:
- Olney suggests a player’s inability to play the field seriously compromises his value, since teams would prefer to have roster flexibility. Though Michael Young may become the Rangers’ regular DH, his ability to play all over the infield is a plus that players like Jim Thome and Vladimir Guerrero cannot offer.
- Executives wonder “where the heck [Manny] Ramirez is going to land - if anywhere.” As Olney notes, Ramirez has the potential to become a distraction.
- Russell Branyan can still play first base when healthy, which is why one GM believes he’ll find a job. “He’ll get a shot someplace," the GM said.
JANUARY 3RD: Hawpe's deal is worth $3MM guaranteed, tweets Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press. The 31-year-old will earn $2MM in '11 with a $6MM mutual option for '12 that can instead be bought out for $1MM.
DECEMBER 24th: The Padres have reached an agreement with Brad Hawpe on a one-year deal according to Bernie Wilson of the AP (via The Miami Herald). The deal is pending a physical. He is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Hawpe, 31, will replace the departed Adrian Gonzalez at first base even though he has just 72 innings of experience at the position in the big leagues. He's a .279/.373/.490 career hitter with at least 22 homers per year from 2006 through 2009. In close to 1,600 plate appearances away from Coors Field, Hawpe is a .271/.367/.467 career hitter. The Padres will likely want to bring in a platoon partner for the lefty swinging Hawpe, who is a .245/.322/.438 career hitter against southpaws.
A quad strain cost Hawpe a little more than two weeks early in the 2010 season, and a rib issue cost him a few days in June. The Rockies cut ties with him in August, and the Rays picked him up off the scrap heap. The Padres also had interest in signing him before Tampa swooped in. Hawpe didn't do much for the Rays on the field (.179/.304/.333 in 46 plate appearances), but he will bring them a supplemental first round pick as a Type-B free agent. San Diego will not have to surrender a pick for the signing.
The offseason has been full of surprises and, as Jon Heyman of SI.com points out, we know a relatively small amount about the top remaining free agents. It appears that the A’s, Angels and Rangers have some interest in Adrian Beltre, but that's about all we know about him and it's more than we know about Rafael Soriano. Here are the rest of Heyman's rumors:
- The Padres are not likely to pursue Derrek Lee now that they've agreed to sign Orlando Hudson and seem close to acquiring Jason Bartlett (Twitter link). Jorge Cantu, Brad Hawpe and Troy Glaus are on the team's list of potential first basemen.
- Lee appears to be the Nationals' top target, according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter link).
- Brian Fuentes has drawn interest from the Orioles and others. The Red Sox and Rockies have been linked to the left-hander, but Boston is not currently focused on him, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- It's only a matter of time before the Phillies deal Joe Blanton, Heyman says.
- One GM told Heyman that the Royals are "asking for a lot more" than Travis Snider and Kyle Drabek for Zack Greinke. The Blue Jays don't intend to offer that pair up regardless.
- Felix Hernandez has the ten biggest markets on his no-trade list, apparently to give him maximum leverage, according to Heyman (on Twitter).