Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Brad Hawpe could sign with a new club by as soon as today.
Hawpe, 31, was designated for assignment last week after batting just .255/.343/.432 with seven home runs, 37 RBI and a 776 OPS in 259 at-bats with the Rockies this season. After passing through release waivers this week, he is now eligible to sign with any team.
Renck writes that Hawpe’s agent is already talking to teams and speculates that the Rangers and Padres are among them. Just a short while ago, Corey Brock of MLB.com reported that the Padres intend to pass on Hawpe. It’s probably a wise move for both sides.
Hawpe really fits best in the American League, where his below average defense won’t be a drag on his value. Though he hasn’t shown it this season, he has an 895 OPS against right-handed pitching during his career. Moving from Coors Field won’t be easy for him, but a potential move to the Ballpark at Arlington wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.