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.

Josh Harrison wants out of Pittsburgh

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In the wake of the Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole trades, Pirates infielder Josh Harrison released a statement to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic today in which he said he’d like to be traded if the Pirates are going to rebuild over the next couple of years.

Harrison said “If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded,” He couched it all in is love of Pittsburgh and his desire to win in Pittsburgh, adding “I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer,” but he said “I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.”

Harrison is under team control on a very team-friendly contract that has him signed through 2018 and with the Pirates holding pretty cheap team options for 2019 and 2020. He’ll make $10 million this year and if the Pirates want to keep him they’ll owe him $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020, with $1 million and $500,000 buyouts, respectively. Harrison played second, third and in the outfield in 2017 and hit .272/.339/.432 with 16 homers and 12 stolen bases.

Part of Harrison’s statement included the phrase “baseball is a business.” That is correct, and when Harrison signed his deal he had to know that the Pirates could blow things up, trade him or anything else during its term. That’s simply a risk one runs when one agrees to a deal that buys out free agency years. At the same time, it can’t be at all fun to be part of a tear-down process the likes of which is now getting underway in Pittsburgh, and it’d be hard to say any of us would feel differently than Harrison does if we were in his shoes.

All of that said, Harrison may very well get his wish. Rosenthal writes that the Mets, Yankees, and Brewers are among the teams with reported interest in Harrison. There are probably way more who would make a good offer for him given his versatility and given how often recent World Series winners have featured a player with exactly that kind of versatility (think Ben Zobrist and Marwin Gonzalez).

My guess is that he’s either going to be dealt now or at the deadline this coming season.