Brad Hawpe looking for job with contender following release

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Brad Hawpe was informed before yesterday’s game that it would be his last with the Rockies and the veteran outfielder delivered a pinch-hit single in a 3-2 win before being released just hours later.
Hawpe cleared waivers earlier this week, but the Rockies were apparently unable to find a trade partner and decided to simply eat the $2.2 million remaining on his contract for this season.
They also owe Hawpe a $500,000 buyout for next year, but there was never any doubt they’d choose that over a $10 million option. So, instead of becoming a free agent in November he’s a free agent now.
According to Hawpe the Rockies offered him the choice of remaining on the team as a part-time player for the final six weeks or being released, and he chose the latter in the hopes of latching on with a contender. Hawpe’s production has been well below his norms this season, but his .255/.343/.432 mark is hardly horrendous and he posted an OPS above .875 in each of the previous four seasons.
He’s also a career .274/.369/.470 hitter with an average of 24 homers per 550 at-bats away from Coors Field, so Hawpe would make plenty of sense as a stretch-run pickup for contenders in need of a good left-handed bat. Especially now that the Rockies are on the hook for his whole salary and the cost to acquire him for the rest of the season is around $100,000.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves