With the Nationals and Orioles seemingly fighting over Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee at first base the Padres have turned their attention to Brad Hawpe, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.
After hitting at least .285 with 20-plus homers and an OPS above .875 in four straight seasons Hawpe struggled last year, getting released by the Rockies in late August and hitting .179 down the stretch after being picked up by the Rays.
His overall line of .245/.338/.419 wasn’t pretty and Hawpe is a terrible outfielder defensively, but he’s still just 31 years old with an .862 career OPS and would be far less of a liability on defense at first base. And while Coors Field obviously helped Hawpe’s raw numbers with the Rockies his home/road splits were never as extreme as most Colorado hitters.
Going from Coors Field to Petco Park would still be a huge adjustment for Hawpe, but he’s hit .273 with a .369 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage on the road during his career.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.